Denis Walsh

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Denis Walsh
Personal information
Irish name Donncha Breathnach
Sport Dual player
Football Position: Corner-back
Hurling Position: Half-back
Born (1965-01-22) 22 January 1965 (age 52)
Ballynoe, County Cork
Occupation Financial adviser
Years Club
St. Catherine's / Kildorrery
Club titles
  Football Hurling
Cork titles 2
Years County Apps (scores)
Cork (F)
Cork (H)
11 (0–1)
29 (1–9)
Inter-county titles
  Football Hurling
Munster Titles 4 5
All-Ireland Titles 2 2
League titles 1 1
All-Stars 0 0

Denis Walsh (born 22 January 1965 in Ballynoe, County Cork) is an Irish hurling manager and former dual player of Gaelic games. He is a former manager of the Cork senior hurling team.

An effective dual player, Walsh enjoyed a successful playing career at club level with St. Catherine's and Kildorrery and at inter-county level with Cork. He was a key member of both the Cork football and hurling teams throughout the 1980s and 1990s, winning All-Ireland, Munster and National League titles in both codes.

After some relatively unsuccessful spells as manager of various club sides, Walsh took charge of the Waterford senior football team in 2001. He left after two unsuccessful seasons. Walsh emerged as a surprise contender for the vacant managerial position with the Cork senior hurling team and was duly appointed in March 2009.


Denis Walsh was born in Ballynoe, County Cork in 1965. He was educated at the local national school where he first played hurling and football. Walsh later attended boarding school in Carrignavar where his sporting talents were further developed. Walsh currently works as a self-employed financial adviser.

Playing career[edit]


Walsh played his club hurling with St. Catherine's and his club football with Kildorrery and enjoyed much success as a dual star. He first tasted victory with St. Catherine's in 1983 when the club captured the Imokilly divisional title. St. Catherine's later represented the division in the county championship and defeated Aghabullogue, giving Walsh a county junior championship winners' medal.[1]

In 1984 Walsh was a key member of the Imolkilly divisional football team that competed in the senior county championship. The mighty St. Finbarr's provided the opposition, however, Imokilly proved too strong and won the game by 1–14 to 2–7.[2] Not only was it Imokilly's first major triumph at senior level but the victory also gave Walsh a county senior championship title.

Two years later in 1986 Imokilly faced St. Finbarr's again in the county final. After a tense game Imokilly defeated 'the Barr's' by a solitary point, giving Walsh a second county winners' medal in three years.

After a drought of success 1994 proved to be a bumper year for Walsh at club level. He won a North Cork junior 'A' football title with Kildorrery, before lining out with St. Catherine's in the intermediate hurling county final. Cloughduv provided the opposition, however, Walsh ended up on the winning side with a 3–12 to 2–11 score line.[3]

In the twilight of his club career Walsh tasted success one final time in 2004. St. Catherine's reached the final of the premier intermediate championship. Courcey Rovers provided the opposition, however, St. Catherine's won the day with a 1–11 to 1–8 score line. It was Walsh's second winners' medal in that grade and a fitting way to bow out of club hurling.[4]

Minor and under-21[edit]

Walsh first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a footballer at underage levels for Cork. He won a Munster medal at minor level in 1983 following a 1–11 to 1–15 defeat of Tipperary.[5] Walsh, however, didn't play in the subsequent All-Ireland final, a game which saw Derry emerge victorious by just two points.

Walsh later joined the Cork under-21 team where he enjoyed much more success. 1985 saw him add a Munster medal to his collection in this grade following an eleven-point trouncing of Clare in the provincial final.[6] The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Walsh play at corner-back against Derry. 'The Rebels' avenged their defeat at minor level two years previously by beating Derry by 0–14 to 1–18. It was Walsh's first All-Ireland winners' medal in the under-21 grade.[7]

In 1986 the Cork under-21 footballers continued their provincial dominance. A narrow 0–8 to 0–7 win over Tipperary gave Walsh his second Munster winners' medal at under-21 level. He later played in a second successive All-Ireland final with Offaly providing the opposition. The game was a one-sided affair as the Cork team were the easy winners on a score line of 3–16 to 0–12. It was Walsh's second consecutive All-Ireland under-21 medal and his last outing in that grade.


By this stage Walsh's hurling skills had been noticed by the Cork senior selectors. Cork retained their provincial dominance in 1986 as the county captured a fifth Munster title in-a-row. It was Walsh's first Munster winners' medal in this grade.[8] Following an unconvincing display by Cork against Antrim he later lined out in the All-Ireland final against Galway. The men from the west were the red-hot favourites against an ageing Cork team, however, on the day a different story unfolded. Four Cork goals, one from John Fenton, two from Tomás Mulcahy and one from Kevin Hennessy, stymied the Galway attack and helped 'the Rebels' to a 4–13 to 2–15 victory. It was Walsh's first All-Ireland winners' medal at senior level.[9]

In 1987 Walsh was a firm fixture on both the Cork senior hurling and football teams. The hurlers surrendered their provincial and All-Ireland crowns to Tipperary; however, the footballers were just beginning a remarkable run of success. After a draw and a replay 'the Rebel's broke Kerry's stranglehold on provincial football with a 0–13 to 1–5 victory.[10] It was Walsh's first senior Munster football title. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Cork play Meath for the first time in twenty years. Cork stormed into an early lead, however, it was Meath who led by a point at half-time. The second half saw Larry Tompkins kick six of his eight frees wide, resulting in a bitter 1–14 to 0–11 defeat for Cork.

1988 saw Walsh collect a second Munster football title with a narrow 1–14 to 0–16 win over arch-rivals Kerry. Cork later qualified for their second consecutive All-Ireland final with Meath providing the opposition once again. Cork stormed ahead after just three minutes when Teddy McCarthy scored the only goal of five consecutive All-Ireland final appearances for Cork. Meath fought back and secured a 0–12 to 1–9 draw. Walsh, who was substituted in the drawn game was not a member of the starting fifteen for the replay. That game proved to be a tough, controversial affair with Meath reduced to fourteen men with the sending off of Gerry McEntee. In spite of being outnumbered Meath still won the game by 0–13 to 0–12.

1989 began well with Walsh adding a third consecutive Munster medal to his collection following another win over Kerry. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Walsh dropped from the team again as Mayo played Cork in a unique pairing. Cork were on top for much of the game, however, a goal by substitute Anthony Finnerty gave Mayo a brief lead. Cork held on to win the game by 0–17 to 1–11.

1990 proved to be a memorable year for Walsh and for Cork. A key member of the senior hurling team, he won a third Munster winners' medal following a great victory over Tipperary, the reigning All-Ireland champions. Not long after this Walsh was playing in the Munster football final. For the fourth year in-a-row Cork were the masters of the province as they trounced Kerry by 2–23 to 1–11. The subsequent All-Ireland hurling final that year pitted Cork against Galway for the second time in four years. Galway were once again the bookies favourites and justified this tag by going seven points ahead at the interval. Cork fought back with an expert display by Tomás Mulcahy and went on to win a high-scoring and open game of hurling by 5–15 to 2–12. It was Walsh's second All-Ireland hurling medal. Two weeks after this victory Walsh was back in Croke Park as a member of the Cork football panel that were playing in the All-Ireland final. Old rivals Meath were the opponents on this occasion as the two sides met for the third time in four years. Walsh, however, played no part in the game as the fourteen men of Cork won the game by 0–11 to 0–9. Disappointingly, Walsh was not eligible for an All-Ireland medal, even as a substitute. He left the Cork inter-county football team following this.

In 1991 Cork surrendered their provincial hurling crown to Tipperary, however, the following year saw Walsh taste more success. The provincial final saw 'the Rebels' defeat Limerick by 1–22 to 3–11, giving Walsh a fourth provincial winners' medal, his fifth in all. Cork later qualified for the All-Ireland final where Kilkenny provided the opposition. 'The Cats' played against a strong wind in the first half and were only two points down at the interval thanks to a goal by D.J. Carey. Further goals by John Power and Michael Phelan gave Kilkenny a 3–10 to 1–12 victory.[11]

In 1993 Walsh added to his already impressive medal tally as he collected a National Hurling League title following a three-game saga with Wexford. Success in the championship eluded him. That same year Walsh was also a key member of the Cork junior football panel. He picked up a Munster title in this grade before later lining out in the All-Ireland championship decider.[12] Mayo provided the opposition on that occasion, however, Cork had a relatively comfortable 0–15 to 0–7 victory over their rivals. This was Walsh's last major outing on the inter-county scene. He retired from inter-county hurling in 1996.


Walsh also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial hurling competition. He captured his sole Railway Cup medal in 1992 as Munster defeated Ulster by 3–12 to 1–8.[13]

Managerial career[edit]

Denis Walsh
Club management
Years Club
St. Catherines
Inter-county management
Years County
2001 – 2003
2009 – 2011

While still a player Walsh became involved in the coaching of various club teams in both hurling and football. In the late 1990s he served as a hurling coach with his native St. Catherine's club before also having a stint with Ballyduff in Waterford. Walsh also worked as manager of the Cork club Carrigtwohill in hurling. Walsh has guided Ballygunner to back to back Waterford Senior hurling championships in 2015/16.


In October 2001 Walsh was appointed manager of the Waterford senior football team.[14] It was a tough assignment as Waterford were regarded as one of the minnows of Gaelic football. His first game in charge was a Munster quarter-final against Clare, game which Waterford could be contenders for victory in spite of their low profile. A 3–10 to 2–9 defeat sent Waterford into the 'qualifiers'. Waterford also lost their next game and were dumped out of the championship. Walsh was manager for a second season in 2002. That year Waterford exited the provincial championship at the first hurdle again, following a defeat by Tipperary. The resultant qualifier game was not kind as Waterford were pitted against reigning All-Ireland champions Armagh. That game turned into an absolute rout as Armagh won easily by 2–21 to 0–8. This defeat brought Walsh's reign as Waterford manager to an end.


On 26 March 2009 Walsh was named as the new manager of the Cork senior hurling team.[15] He was installed as a full-time replacement for Gerald McCarthy who vacated the position after a prolonged strike by the entire hurling panel due to the nature of his appointment for a second two-year term. The task ahead was enormous as Cork had missed out on early-season training and the opening two rounds of the National League. Walsh's first two games in charge saw Cork being trounced by Kilkenny before putting up a spirited display against Waterford but eventually recording a defeat.[16]

Walsh's first championship game in charge saw Cork take on Tipperary in Semple Stadium. While many expected Tipp to trounce Cork, Walsh's side fought admirably before eventually losing by 1–19 to 0–19. After a convincing win over Offaly in the opening round of the qualifiers, Walsh's next assignment with Cork was a win-or-bust All-Ireland qualifier meeting with an in-form Galway. After an opening half which saw both sides trade tit-for-tat scores, Galway pulled away in the final ten minutes to record a 1–19 to 0–15 victory, their fifth-ever over Cork. In August 2011 the Cork County Committee confirmed that they would not be extending the tenure of Walsh after two and a half years.[17][18]




As a player[edit]

Performance NHL SHC NFL SFC Total
Season Team Apps Scr Apps Scr Apps Scr Apps Scr Apps Scr
1989–90 Cork 7 0-00 5 0-00 5 0-00 1 0-00 18 0-00
1990–91 Cork 5 0-00 1 0-00 - - - - 6 0-00
1991–92 Cork 7 0-00 4 0-00 - - - - 11 0-00
1992–93 Cork 7 0-00 1 0-00 - - - - 8 0-00
1993–94 Cork 7 0-00 - - - - - - 7 0-00
1994–95 Cork 2 0-00 - - - - - - 2 0-00
Career Total

As a manager[edit]

As of 5 April 2010
Team From To National League Record Championship Record
P W D L Win % P W D L Win %
Waterford October 2001 June 2001 14 0 2 12 00.00% 4 0 0 4 00.00&
Cork 26 March 2009 23 August 2011 8 5 1 2 62.50% 3 1 1 1 33.33%


  1. ^ "JUNIOR A HURLING CH/SHIP 1926–2008". Cork GAA. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  2. ^ "Senior Football Finals 1970 – present". Cork GAA. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  3. ^ "Intermediate Hurling Finals 1970 – 2003". Cork GAA. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  4. ^ "Intermediate Hurling Finals 2004–present". Cork GAA. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "Minor Football – Munster Final Winning Teams". Munster GAA. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  6. ^ "Under-21 Football – Munster Final Winning Teams". Munster GAA. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  7. ^ "Cork Hurling Profile". Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  8. ^ "Senior Hurling – Munster Final Winning Teams (1887–2007)". Munster GAA. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  9. ^ Oconnor, Christy (11 September 2005). "Caught in Time: Cork hurlers beat Galway to take 1986 All-Ireland title". London: Irish Times. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "Senior Football – Munster Final Winning Teams (1888–2007)". Munster GAA. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  11. ^ "Kilkenny v Cork Classics – 1992 SHC final". RTÉ Sport. 30 August 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "Junior Football – Munster Final Winning Teams". Munster GAA. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  13. ^ "Munster Railway Cup Hurling Teams". Munster GAA. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  14. ^ "Denis Walsh: Meet Waterford’s new football coach". Waterford News & Star. 19 October 2001. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  15. ^ "Walsh named Cork hurling manager". RTÉ Sport. 26 March 2009. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  16. ^ "National Hurling League 2009". Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  17. ^ "Walsh out as Cork hurlers seek new boss". RTÉ Sport. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011. [permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Barry-Murphy in line for comeback after Cork part ways with Walsh". Irish Independent. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Greg Fives
Waterford Senior Football Manager
Succeeded by
Billy Harty
Preceded by
John Considine
Cork Senior Hurling Manager
Succeeded by
Jimmy Barry-Murphy