The stage is almost set for the 135th All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final. The GAA’s biggest event on the calendar takes place this Sunday, July 24th as Kerry take on Galway for the privilege of lifting the Sam Maguire.
One of the leaders of the Galway side will be Portobello Institute sports student, Shane Walsh. We would like to take this opportunity to wish Shane and his team the best of luck on this momentous occasion.
Committing to studying is one thing but doing so while also playing sport to the highest level in the country and maintaining his leadership as captain of the team is a tremendous feat.
Portobello Institute aims to support all students to have this work/life balance. Whether a learner is on a full-time sports programme or blended learning, all of our delivery modes are based on giving every individual the best chance at success and balance.
Shane follows his passion both on and off the field, studying sports full-time at Portobello Institute while playing inter-county football on the other side of the country.
Our full-time programmes are scheduled in a way that concentrates the classes together generally mid-week so you are not travelling to college every day and you can structure work, weekends and other commitments around your studies.
Portobello Institute is proud to support students to fulfil their potential while choosing the course for the career they want.
Galway v Kerry Game Preview
Kerry are the record winners of the competition (37) and come into the final holding the opportunity to hold the three honours of National League champions, Provincial champions, and All-Ireland champions all in the same year.
They will fancy their chances too after their dramatic last-minute win in the semi-final against arch-rivals Dublin thanks to Seán O'Shea's free heard around the world.
James Crombie's iconic snap of the Croke Park crowd looking on as O'Shea prepares to send Kerry to the final. Credit: James Crombie INPHO
Galway were able to put an end to Derry’s fairytale run to the All-Ireland last time out, with Damien Comer’s long-range strike into an empty net providing the final nail in the coffin.
The Tribesmen will take to the field in search of their county’s 10th All-Ireland title, the third most in the competition.
But it would be their first since their victory over Meath in 2001. Gary Fahey was the man to lead Galway out that day and Portobello Institute student, Shane Walsh, will be hoping that he and his teammates will be able to repeat that feat this Sunday.
Shane Walsh posing with Sam Maguire. Credit: Sky Sports.
He made his senior championship debut for Galway back in 2013, as a first-half substitute in a 17-point drubbing at the hands of neighbours Mayo.
Walsh did win both a Connacht and All-Ireland U-21 title in that same year. Since then, he has gone on to make himself a key figure in the Galway team.
Walsh plays for Kilkerrin-Clonberne GAA in the northeast of Galway. Over the nine years since his championship debut for Galway, he has transformed himself into an incredibly reliable scorer, with a tally of 6-139 in 39 championship appearances.
Walsh has three Connacht titles on his football resumé and has played more than his part in each and every one. Walsh played a central part in Galway’s success in this year’s narrow victory over Roscommon, scoring 1-6 of Galway’s total of 2-19 on the day.
His performance prompted Báinisteoir Joyce to call Walsh “one of the best footballers I’ve ever seen playing”. He notched a cool 0-16 across the 2018 championship, including a game-high 0-8 in the final against the same opponents. And he contributed 0-3 to Galway’s 2016 victory over the Rossies.
Shane Walsh bursting through against Roscommon in this year's Connacht final. Credit: Ben Brady INPHO.
Alongside talisman Comer, Walsh played a key role in securing the win against Derry in the semi-final a fortnight ago, scoring 0-4, including one point that was controversially disallowed by Hawkeye before being retrospectively granted at halftime.
Walsh's point that was initially disallowed by Hawkeye before being overturned. Credit: Ryan Byrne INPHO
All eyes turn to Sunday’s final in Croke Park and Walsh will be hoping to climb the steps of the Hogan Stand and lift the Sam Maguire alongside his Galway teammates.
Speaking to John Harrington back in June, Walsh said the attitude in the camp is one of why not us?
“There's definitely more of a belief there now. Like, Pádraic [Joyce] is a man of belief. He's such a confident man. What he said when he played, he did. He was just an unbelievable footballer and to have that confidence, it shows, and it spreads across the team as well. The players see that as well. When you have a manager breathing that confidence into you as well, that helps.
“There could be doubts in the back of some lad's mind and they're kind of saying, 'Am I going to? Is it going to happen?' Whereas if you have a manager inspiring you all the time to help you and encourage you on, then you're thinking, 'Well, why can't I?'
“That's the way I see it. Why not us? Tyrone won it last year and when Dublin were winning it they had the belief. Where we get our money's worth is there could be a stage in the quarter-final where we're down having played well at half-time and that's when your belief is tested.
“You're saying to yourself, we played well, but we've been unlucky. There could be a goal that goes in off a freak deflection or something like that. It’s how we respond to that, that's when your character is tested.
“I think throughout the League we've bounced back in situations that were sticky enough and came through those. Even against Roscommon, we didn't play well on the day and still came back to make a right game of it down the stretch. I think that's the sign of a team and I think we are building that character all the time. Hopefully, everyone will see that down the line,” he said.
You can watch Shane Walsh and the rest of the Galway team take on Kerry this Sunday at 3.30 pm on both RTÉ and Sky Sports.
Shane Walsh is an exemplary Portobello Institute student who follows his passion both on and off the pitch. We are proud to support his learning journey and wish him the best of luck on Sunday.
If you want to follow yours and choose the course for the career you want, you can visit our department page here and unlock the next step in your career journey.
You can book a one-to-one, free consultation call with our expert sports advisor Jo Shaw here, email email@example.com or call 01 892 0024.