Aidan: Dublin 'different side' to 2010 line-up
SUCH is the famous paucity of the Cork football support and their reticence to travel to matches, it can serve as something of a jolt to the more youthful of the team's number when dropped into Croke Park on one of its fuller days, just as tomorrow night is sure to be.
Some take instantly to it. Others admit to being fazed by all the noise and energy from Hill 16. Aidan Walsh was largely oblivious.
"Looking back, I was just a bit naive," he recalls of the 2010 All-Ireland semi-final, an ultimately pleasant experience given Cork's one-point victory en route to being crowned All-Ireland champions.
"I didn't really take much notice of it. I still think about it a lot. I remember walking around in the parade in front of the Hill, you couldn't hear yourself really but, like that, I just relish the occasion."
It showed. Walsh thrived and later collected an All-Ireland medal, the first of two All Stars and the Young Footballer of the Year award.
"They're a totally different team this year," he says of the sea change Dublin have undergone since.
"They have a new manager, a new set-up and I don't think that stands for much really going in the next day.
"I suppose we met them at the start of the year this year in the league and we weren't very close to them. Looking back at the game, they were much better than us. They're a totally different team."
Last week, Walsh was initially employed at centre-forward and scored the vital, game-turning goal against Galway yet Cork's midfield was all the better for his belated switch there.
"It's not much of a difference between midfield really," he notes.
"The way the game has gone you're up and down the field the whole time. I'm not too pushed, I'll try and do as much for the team as I can and keep working and it just really comes down to intensity and work-rate. No matter where you're playing it all comes down to that.
"I suppose making runs is different. It's probably the biggest change. I suppose when you're midfield you're the outlet for the backs but when you're in centre-forward you're the outlet for players coming forward so you have to make different runs.
"That's a bit of a change but, like that, it's a great learning curve. If I went back to midfield now again or wherever I know how a centre-forward would like to receive the ball, how I'd like the midfielders to give the ball to me if I was centre-forward. I try and take as much from it as I can."
As such, Walsh was unlucky not to hit a hat-trick of goals, chances he puts down to incessant hard work rather than anything else.
"You have to keep making runs," he insists.
"You mightn't get the ball first time, second time, third time but you might end up getting the ball the fourth time then so you have to be extremely patient. If you just keep making the runs they will happen for you eventually.
"We don't have much time to prepare for it," he adds of the quick turnover between Galway and Dublin.
"But we have to do as much as we can in a short period of time. I suppose it has a few advantages alright. Dublin haven't played now in three weeks – it'll be three weeks Saturday.
"After the game they could be saying three weeks was an advantage and we could be saying a week was an advantage, it all depends on how the game goes really."