Frankie Walsh (former Waterford hurler) – RIP

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.

Click for more details

Frankie Walsh RIP

GAA supporters across Waterford and the province of Munster were saddened to learn of the death of former Waterford hurler Frankie Walsh this week. Frankie’s exploits on the hurling field first came to prominence at a Provincial level when he made the Waterford Minor hurling team in the mid-1950s before graduating to the Senior panel in 1956. After a decade dominated by Cork and Tipperary to that point, Waterford would make the breakthrough in 1957 as they defeated Cork by 5 points in the Munster Final with Frankie Walsh at centre-forward flanked by Tom Cheasty and Seamus Power in a powerful half-forward line. Despite playing well in the All-Ireland for long periods, Kilkenny finished stronger and pipped the Decies by a point.

Waterford would return to the National stage in 1959, again defeating Cork in the Munster Final – this time by three points with Frankie Walsh captaining the team from centre-forward. Kilkenny again provided the opposition in the All-Ireland and after a high scoring draw, Waterford won the replay by eight points. As captain, Frankie had the honours of walking up the steps of the Hogan Stand to collect the Liam MacCarthy Cup – the last Waterford captain to do so at this level.

The following spring, Frankie had the honour of captaining the Munster hurlers in the Railway Cup which at that stage was in its heyday as the finals were held on St. Patrick’s Day. Munster would capture their fourth Railway Cup in a row in 1960 as Frankie did not look out of place in a forward division which included Jimmy Doyle, Jimmy Smyth and Christy Ring. Frankie had already won a Railway Cup medal in 1957 and would go on to capture further medals at this grade in 1961, 1963 and 1966.

At inter-county level, Waterford’s ambitions for further honours were denied by Tipperary in the early 1960’s but they would return to the winners enclosure in 1963 when they captured National League honours before defeating a Tipperary team looking for their third All-Ireland in a row. Waterford’s 0-11 to 0-8 Munster Final victory would see Frankie win his third Munster Senior Hurling medal and amazingly, would begin a run of 39 years before another Munster title at this grade was secured. Kilkenny once again provided the opposition in the All-Ireland and after another high scoring affair, Waterford would lose out by 6-8 to 4-17.

Though Frankie Walsh kept playing with Waterford throughout the 1960’s, no further honours were secured before his last season of Senior inter-county hurling in 1969. Frankie enjoyed much success with his club Mount Sion during the 1950’s and 1960’s winning numerous County titles in both hurling and football.

In 2001, the Munster Council honoured Frankie Walsh with the Munster Hurling Hall of Fame award, an appropriate recognition for Frankie’s contribution to Mount Sion, Waterford, Munster and the GAA. Upon learning of the passing of Frankie Walsh, Munster GAA Chairman Sean Walsh said “I was saddened to hear of the death of Frankie Walsh. He will forever be remembered as the captain of an outstanding Waterford hurling team who captured All-Ireland honours in 1959 and is revered as one of the best forwards of his generation. On behalf of Munster GAA, we extend our sympathies to the bereaved at this sad time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Tribute written by Munster GAA PRO – Ed Donnelly