Walt a debut!
By Niall McCoy
AS far as debuts go, they don’t get much better than winning the man of the match award in the All-Ireland final – but that is exactly what happened Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh.
The big full-forward said he was “delighted” to play a part, scoring 1-3, as Kilkenny accounted for Galway in Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final replay.
As far as debuts go, it was Roy of the Rovers stuff. Here we look at some other notable championship debuts:
1) Peter Canavan – Tyrone 1990
It is quite fitting that the little genius made his debut against Armagh in the 1990 Ulster first round. His name had long been noted in the Red Hand county due to his underage exploits, and having made his senior debut in October 1989 against Mayo, he was thrown into the deep end against the county’s rivals.
Alas it was not to be a dream start as the Orchard county prevailed on a 0-12 to 0-11 scoreline. Canavan, however, did score nearly half his side’s total, finishing with five points.
2) James Clarke – Armagh 2010
Derry hadn’t lost a match at Celtic Park since that infamous defeat to Down in 1994.
The Orchard county fans travelled up to that venue unsure of what to expect in Paddy O’Rourke’s first championship game in charge, and the sides could not be split by the interval.
Midway through the second half, with Armagh just a point up, O’Rourke put on Jamie Clarke and seven minutes later he held off Kevin McGuckin and fired past Barry Gillis. Game over.
3) Seanie Johnston – Kildare 2012
We all knew it was coming, fate would ensure it. When the second round draw for this year’s qualifiers were held, Cavan and Kildare were in the pot.
Cavan would come out first and then Kildare followed – igniting one of the GAA’s most controversial transfers which saw Seanie Johnston transfer from the Breffni county to the Lilywhites.
Kingspan Breffni Park would be rocking for the match, but Kieran McGeeney’s side were far too strong.
Johnston would take to the field late on to point a free, sending the Kildare fans into raptures and securing some boos from the home crowd.