'Tribe should stand up for themselves'
Published 13/07/2016 | 02:30
The flak is flying. And David Burke isn't trying to pretend they didn't have at least some of it coming their way.
He knows that managerial heaves and second-half collapses have a way of pushing you towards an unwelcome kind of spotlight.
"Look, it's been harsh but some (of) it's probably true as well in a way," Burke said, as the GAA launched the All-Ireland series of the hurling championship.
The inability to halt a another Kilkenny second-half power surge suggested little was learned from last year's All-Ireland final. And it has prompted some deep introspection from Burke about whether Galway hurling is where it needs to be mentally. Though he's confident that is changing.
"I don't know if it is a thing that players let seep into their mind from things that are said. Maybe the general people in Galway are just. . . I think they might be a biteen soft like. 'Oh, we'll go up and compete anyway. If we win we win, if we lose we lose', whereas you can see in Kilkenny any fans, even talking to people, they want to win all the time.
"That's their mentality. It kind of reflects that in the players as well so if we can just keep focused on what we have to do at hand.
"I think things are changing though, I can see a bit of a change. There's a bit of steel coming. I know it mightn't have been shown the last day but I think there is a bit coming there."
Burke lays blame for Galway's defeat at his own door too.
"We were still three points up and I remember saying they were kind of opening us up. TJ Reid was pulling it out the field and I was saying, 'Should I go back in the hole now and just close up for a few minutes?' Once they got the goal then it was kind of 'push on and get some scores back', which we did, we got them back to one. And after that I was still saying, 'Should I sit?'
"Next thing they just hit us with four points before you could even think of what you should do. Even though I knew I should have gone back and tightened it up a bit."
There's little to do now but try and ride out the storm. Burke points out that Kilkenny do what they did to Galway in the Leinster final to pretty much everyone in the country.
And by the time their Semple Stadium clash with Clare rolls around on Sunday, July 24, it won't have come a moment too soon.
But until then, Galway will be the team who got rid of a manager who guided them to a pair of All-Ireland finals as well as a Leinster crown but, so far at least, have been unable to produce the sort of form required to vindicate their move over the winter.
"We knew at some stage it was going to be thrown at us regardless," Burke reflected. "Even in the league after losing to Cork the same thing was thrown at us but you can't really take too much from the league, it's different - teams are coming up from Division (1B) and winning the league in the last two years so you can take what you want from it.
"Look, what happened, happened last year. It is in the past. Anthony (Cunningham) brought a huge professionalism to the dressing room and to what we did at training.
"Micheál (Donoghue) has brought his own thing to it. Be it tactics or a different training regime but still a lot of things are the same. Like what we do at training is nearly the same.
"We knew at some stage that we were going to be hit with that. It's disappointing, how we played, even in the first half, but we need to take the positives now going into the Clare game.
"If we win that everyone will turn 180 degrees and get behind us. That's the way the Galway people are, I suppose."
In a way, that game with the Banner gives them a chance to deliver a message to former Clare manager Ger Loughnane.
Loughnane, who had a spell as Galway manager, has been outspoken in his criticism of the current Tribe side and Burke agrees that some of his team-mates might use his comments as fuel ahead of the clash in Semple Stadium.
"I'm sure someone else would have been hurt by what was said but everyone's entitled to their opinion really," he said. "They're following the game, they're entitled to it... what only matters is what we do inside the four white lines at the end of the day. I know it's an amateur game really and what we're doing is for your family and for your club and for the county.
"Look, if we can use that motivation... personally I probably won't use it. I motivate myself in a different way but other players will probably use that. It should be a good thing for us really going forward. He's from Clare so it should be a good thing. Lads really now should dig in and stand up for themselves."