Gerard Walsh of the Antrim Senior Hurling team and O’Donovan Rossa took some time out of his busy training and study schedule to visit the hurlers of St. Louise’s Comprehensive College on Tuesday 18th October 2022.
Gerard has recently completed his Master of Science at Ulster University in Management. In the past few days, Gerard has also been named on the Joe Mc Donagh Team of the Year at full back, a nice accolade to round off a successful season in the Saffron jersey.
In June 2022, the Antrim senior hurling team won the Joe Mc Donagh cup for the second time defeating a determined Kerry team by a single point. Gerard lined out at wing half back and steadied his team’s defence on the day. A versatile option for Darren Gleeson throughout the league and Championship campaigns, Gerard also featured at number three and seven, with his long-range passing accuracy and ability to win primary possession being key strengths of Gerard’s game.
As these feats were important to growing and maintaining a strong Antrim for the national games own development and indeed Antrim’s, Gerard played a key role in delivering successful league and All Ireland Campaigns. Antrim secured their division one status for a second year and brought the Joe McDonagh Cup to the North.
Much like the developmental targets of the County, St. Louise’s College have their own objectives set for growing and maintaining Gaelic and Hurling for its boys.
Gerard’s visit with the Joe Mc Donagh Cup will inspire our pupils and encourage them to join Gaelic and Hurling clubs within the school and more so, aim to represent their county one day.
Aside from the seasonal cold keeping a few boys from attending Monday’s session, those who braved the weather to get out and practise had a brilliant opportunity to listen and gain advice on the small things that go a long way to achieving success over time. The basics such as, practising at the wall ball, having a poc with friends at break and lunch times, eating healthy and enjoying the games were all carefully noted by pupils like Jack, James, Joe, Eoin and Ethan.
The boys also had to get some key questions over to Gerard which would be crucial to their own journey to the top. Jack asked, ‘if Gerard had any spare hurls?’, as he once received a gift of one from the Cork players after their game against Antrim in Corrigan Park during the summer.
Ethan asked, ‘who made Gerard’s hurls?’ and ‘where can they be purchased?’. “A hurly maker in Limerick”, Gerard replied, “who is quite old”. To which Eoin responded, “is he on Snapchat?”
On more serious aspects, the boys found out that Gerard’s toughest game was against Cork, just for their “laser-like” passing and their “movement was so tough to track”.
James asked, ‘who Gerard’s biggest influence and role models were?’. “Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and my parents”, Gerard replied.
This visit was made a little bit more special by being held on the school’s newly installed 4G pitch. This will allow pupils to practise their skills and enjoy such an outstanding facility.