Death of Deise Legend Frankie Walsh

December 30, 2012

The late Frankie Walsh raises the Liam McCarthy Cup for Waterford in 1959
Waterford County Board are sad to announce the death of Frankie Walsh, Mount Sion GAA Club, and former Waterford Senior Hurling Captain and All Ireland Medal winner. (Courtesy of the Deise Website)

Funeral arrangements as follows:

Removal from Thompson's Funeral Home, tomorrow, Sunday evening at 6.15pm to the Holy Family Church, Luke Wadding Street.

Requiem Mass at 11am on Monday followed by burial in Ballygunner Cemetery. Car parking available in the School Grounds, access through Convent Hill.

Frankie Walsh was born in Waterford City in 1936. From a young age he showed a great interest in the game of hurling and was hugely influenced by the great John Keane and others from the 1948 All-Ireland winning team.

In 1953 Walsh was a key member of the Mount Sion College team that competed in the prestigious Harty Cup competition. Mount Sion defeated St. Flannans College of Ennis in the final to take the title.

Frankie Walsh played all of his club hurling with the famous Mount Sion club in Waterford and enjoyed much success. He first came to prominence with the club as a member of the Mount Sion minor hurling team. He won a county title in this grade in 1953. Walsh made it onto the Mount Sion senior panel in 1954. A year later he won his very first county title at senior level, as Mount Sion defeated Abbeyside in the county final.

It was the start of an unprecedented run of success for the Mount Sion club and Walsh collected seven county medals in-a-row. Mount Sion's great run came to an end in the county final of 1962 when beaten by city rivals Erin's Own. The old order was restored the following season and Frankie Walsh, went on to win three in-a-row senior titles in 1963, 1964 and 1965. He won further county honours in 1969 and 1972 and retired from club hurling in 1974. Walsh also won three county football titles with Mount Sion in the 1950s.

Walsh first came to prominence at inter-county level as a member of the Waterford minor hurling team, however, he had little success in this grade. He subsequently made his debut for the senior team in a National Hurling League relegation game against Kilkenny and later made his championship debut against Cork in 1956. Ironically, Walsh's first championship game could easily have been his last as he received a fractured skull from a swinging hurley. He had to spend over a month in hospital but thankfully made a full recovery.

In spite of his injury Walsh was back on the team in 1957. That year he lined out in his first provincial decider against reigning champions Cork.

Going into the game, Waterford were the underdogs, however, at full time Walsh ended up with a Munster title following a 1-11 to 1-6 victory over the Rebels. In the All Ireland Final, the men from the Déise later lined up against Kilkenny. Over 70,000 spectators turned up at Croke Park to see an exciting game of hurling. With fifteen minutes left in the game Waterford led by six points. Two quick goals for 'the Cats', together with a great point by captain Mickey Kelly reversed the trend and gave Kilkenny a 4-10 to 3-12 victory.

Waterford lost their provincial crown in 1958 but the team bounced back in 1959 with Walsh, who was now captain of the side, collecting a second Munster title following a 3-9 to 2-9 win over Cork. Once again Waterford subsequently lined out in the championship decider and, once again, Kilkenny provided the opposition. The game was another exciting affair and with ninety seconds left Kilkenny were ahead by three points. Just then Séamus Power scored the equalising goal to force a 1-17 to 5-5 draw. The replay was another great game with both sides giving it their all. Waterford scored three goals in the opening thirty minutes while Walsh scored a spectacular eighth point to help his side to a 3-12 to 1-10 win. It was his first, and only, All-Ireland medal while he also had the honour of collecting the Liam McCarthy Cup.

Four years later in 1963 Walsh added a National Hurling League medal to his collection before winning a third Munster title following a victory over the great Tipperary team of the decade. For the third successive time Kilkenny turned out to be Waterford's opponents in the subsequent All-Ireland final. Things weren't going well for Walsh's side and at one stage Waterford were eleven points in arrears. The men from the Déise clawed back this deficit to two points but an expert display by Eddie Keher proved the difference as Kilkenny won by 4-17 to 6-8.

Walsh continued playing with Waterford until 1969 but apart from a Munster final appearance in 1966 he enjoyed no further success.

Walsh also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial hurling competition and enjoyed much success. He first lined out with his province in 1957 and collected a coveted Railway Cup medal that year as Munster defeated arch-rivals Leinster. Walsh was captain of the side in 1960 as Leinster were accounted for again in the Railway Cup final. It was the first of two in-a-row for the southern province and for Walsh. After defeat in 1962 he collected two more Railway Cup medals in 1963 and 1966.

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