Tommy Walsh: Con O’Callaghan has potential to be the next DJ Carey

By Larry Ryan

Con O’Callaghan is the best hurler in the country at the moment, according to former Kilkenny great Tommy Walsh, who says the Cuala All-Ireland winner reminds him of former teammate DJ Carey.

Speaking on on's morning sports show, OTB AM, Walsh accepted O’Callaghan - who also won an All-Ireland with Dublin’s footballers this year, hasn’t had an opportunity to showcase his hurling ability on the inter-county stage.

Con O'Callaghan

But he sees the same buzz around O’Callaghan that once surrounded Carey in Kilkenny club hurling.

“I know he’s only playing club… to me Con O’Callaghan is the best hurler in Ireland right now,” Walsh said.

“He just reminds me of DJ.

“I remember going to Gowran matches and there used to be an extra few hundred people at ordinary first-round league games. Just to see DJ.

“When the ball comes into his space, bzzzz, next minute the whole place is on a buzz. What’s going to happen?

“You look at Con. When that diagonal ball comes in, it’s usually a two man full-forward line and it’s just, what’s going to happen next?

"He gets the ball, goes round his man, either gets fouled or puts the ball in the net.”

DJ Carey, 2004

Walsh does fear that O’Callaghan can never get to Carey’s level simply because he won’t have the same exposure to hurling.

“He can’t ever get to that level because he won’t be putting in the time into his hurling.

"If he was to get to play inter-county he’s not going to have the same touches as if he was playing 100% of the time.”

And he doesn’t see O’Callaghan lining out with the Dublin hurlers any time soon.

“It all depends on the success of Dublin (footballers). If they stay winning, the hurlers will have no chance of getting Con O’Callaghan.

“It’s only if they start going through rocky patches, suddenly then you could see them saying we could do with him for a month.

“It’s like asking someone to be a professional tennis player and a professional soccer player, very difficult to do.

“And I don’t think Jim Gavin would be happy to see Con go off for a few weeks, someone else training hard, and Con coming back in and still playing.”


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