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t's not every November you get an All-Ireland
football champion graduating from RCSI. At the
November Conferrings, Donnchadh Walsh, a
member of the championship-winning Kerry team
of 2014, graduated with a BSc Physiotherapy.
Donnchadh brought the Sam Maguire Cup with him from
The Kingdom for graduation day, to celebrate a year of
both sporting and academic achievements.
It's been an eventful 2014 for Donnchadh but All-Ireland
success is getting to be a habit for him. This is his third All-
Ireland success with two previous wins in 2007 and 2009.
Initial expectations for Kerry had been modest in 2014.
He recalls: "We hadn't been given much hope of even
contending at the latter stage of the championship following
a season-ending injury sustained by our captain Colm
Cooper back in February. The loss of Colm through injury
and the retirement of other experienced players such as Paul
Galvin, Eoin Brosnan and Tomás Ó Sé meant that we were
written off by most GAA pundits.
"We didn't have a great National League and we struggled
to get over our first championship game of the year against
Clare. But our Munster Final winning display against Cork
down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh at the the start of July set us on
our way for what was a memorable summer."
Balancing his training and studies (BSc Physiotherapy) meant
he had a punishing schedule: "It was difficult at times but I
managed. Our manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has been very
understanding of my circumstances. He knew that I had to
prioritise my college studies. He and our physical coach, Dr
Cian O'Neill, allowed me to follow my own training schedule
while I was based in Dublin.
"I was lucky on a few occasions that my clinical placements
were in Cork and Tralee, which were within driving distance
of our training base in Killarney. When I was placed in
Waterford Regional Hospital, I linked up with the Waterford
senior footballers for training sessions. All this allowed me to
keep in good shape for when I got back down to Kerry for
summer, when the championship was about to kick off."
He has great memories of his time at RCSI: "We had
a small class so people got to know each other really
well and we formed a great bond. We had some great
nights out together. In particular, we had a very enjoyable
weekend in Croke Park when our class was chosen to
help run the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists
annual conference. It was cool to be able to spend two
days so close to one of the finest sports fields in the
What's next for Donnchadh? "At the moment I'm
working in the out-patients physiotherapy department of
Kerry General Hospital in Tralee. I'm really enjoying it at
the moment and I'd hope to continue working there for
the forseeable future. I'm already very excited about next
year's season.
"Being All-Ireland champions will bring its own
challenges. It will also give us great confidence that we
can retain our title. Even before the season starts we
have been given a boost from the news that professional
Australian Rules player Tommy Walsh will be returning
to play with Kerry next year. We also hope to have Colm
Cooper returning from injury early next season."
All-Ireland champion adds
graduation to year's honours
Doing the double: Donnchadh Walsh, All-Ireland
winner and BSc Physiotherapy graduate.