Sunday 20 January 2019

Burke mixing club and county as Galway strive for more

Corofin and Galway footballer Ian Burke. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Corofin and Galway footballer Ian Burke. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

It says a lot about Galway's 2019 All-Ireland SFC aspirations that the Corofin contingent are mixing inter-county preparation with the Tribesmen alongside their club football run and Ian Burke is happy to have a hand in both camps.

Those preparing for All-Ireland club semi-finals - Corofin play Ulster kingpins Gaoth Dobhair on February 16 - are generally excused from county duty but Burke and Co are mixing their time between the two at present.

"We're training with them now for the next while, there's a schedule done up between the club and the county so we're not kind of mixing and matching," Burke said at the launch of Future Proof Media.

"We just go where we're told to go. We're getting sessions done both sides just to get up to speed with both camps and know what they're at. Coming closer to the semi-final, we'll be primarily with Corofin."

With reigning All-Ireland club champions Corofin favoured to make it back to the decider on St Patrick's Day - and new football coach Kevin Stritch working under Kevin Walsh in Galway - it makes sense for Burke and the likes of Liam Silke to juggle both for now.

Coming back late last year didn't affect Burke - the 25-year-old forward was Galway's sole All-Star after an impressive season - but it means he'll be kept busy in the coming weeks as he continues his recovery from two broken ribs.

Despite claiming Connacht honours and reaching a Division 1 league final, their season ended on a sour note with a nine-point All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin and Burke is keen to make amends this year.

"If we were given a semi-final at the start of last year, would we have taken it? We probably would have, but it's definitely not something we are going to rest on," he said.

"We are definitely aware of the commitments and all the effort and all that goes into getting that far and that being said, it was a disappointing end to the year. The second half against Dublin was something that wasn't particularly good for us."

Burke name-checked the returning duo of Cillian McDaid - back from an AFL stint with Carlton - and Silke as two who can aid their cause (he revealed that clubmate Micheál Lundy is unlikely to feature) but they will have to soldier without the Sweeney brothers, Cathal and Patrick, who have both opted out.

"Whoever commits, commits. We'll work with whoever is there. They are big losses, they gave great service to Galway football and were brilliant last year around the dressing room and on the pitch; they'll be missed."

Irish Independent

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