Walsh, Edward J. (‘Ned’) (c.1865–1939), athlete and rugby international, was born c.1865. Some sources give 1868 or later as his birth year, but his death certificate suggests 1865 as more likely, and this date tallies better with his subsequent sporting career. No details of his parents are known. Educated at Blackrock College, where he first played rugby, he then moved to Lansdowne RFC, first appearing in the senior side in the 1884/5 season, and played until the 1892/3 season, winning the Leinster Senior Cup in 1891. Walsh also lined out at interprovincial level for Leinster (1886–93), playing five times for his province. He appears to have been injured or away from rugby for some years, missing much or all of the 1885/6, 1888/9, and 1889/90 seasons. A speedy and entertaining winger, Walsh's international rugby career began in 1887 when he played in all three of Ireland's matches. He did not play again until 1892, when he returned as one of what Jacques McCarthy in Sport called the ‘resuscitated veterans’, playing in the losing matches against England and Scotland before scoring two tries in Ireland's 8–0 victory against Wales (Redmond, 20). His seventh and final international was the following year (1893) against England.
Walsh was also a noted athlete, winning the IAAA 120 yards hurdles championship in 1885 and 1886, as well as the same title under the auspices of the GAA in 1886. He was also joint holder of the 1885 IAAA running high jump title. In 1885 he won an unofficial ‘world’ championship when, on an Irish athletic tour of the USA, he comfortably defeated the American champion William Fordan. He was described as the foremost all-round athlete of the ’nineties by P. J. Rea of the Limerick Echo (Ó Ceallaig, 26). After retiring from athletics he was for some time the official handicapper for the IAAA at meetings around the country. Walsh is credited by Peter O'Connor (qv), later to win an Olympic gold medal and break the world record in the long jump, with being the first person to recognise O'Connor's potential as an athlete and with actively encouraging him. After seeing O'Connor in action at a sports meeting in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Walsh wrote a letter to the Sport newspaper correctly predicting that O'Connor would eventually break the world record (‘Carbery’, 92). A civil servant by profession, he rose to the position of accountant general of the supreme court of Ireland before his retirement. Married, he had no children. He died 25 March 1939 at his home in Portarlington, Co. Laois.