Tuesday 20 March 2018

Galway's Burke keeping his eyes firmly on big prize

Tribes' skipper out to finish job in the final

Galway's David Burke. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Galway's David Burke. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

David Burke's eyes are looking forward, gaze fixed on what is coming into a sharper focus than at any other time in the last 29 years.

The Hollywood ending to the Tipperary game was enjoyable but it'll mean nothing if they can't go and finish the job and secure Liam MacCarthy next month.

"I suppose what I've been telling myself all year or even in the last couple of years, that I'm here to do this job and see it out and get it done," Burke says of Galway's All-Ireland hopes. "That's the way I'm building it up for myself.

"My job being captain is very easy when you have Joe (Canning), Colm Callanan, Aidan Harte, and these lads on the team that have been there for as long as I have.

"They say things at training that I don't need to say or at the right time. Look, it's obviously going to be a massive thing if we could bring the Liam MacCarthy back to the west.

"We fully believe we can do it and we're ready to do it."

Like much of the Galway side, this is the third year they have reached the All-Ireland final after the 2012 and 2015 campaigns. That experience helped see them through in the breathless final moments of last weekend but Burke also stressed the importance of them being able to keep most of their players fit this year.

"I think the group has matured a lot in the last couple of years and the age profile is probably in the mid 20s. The fact we have a couple of the key players playing well in the forwards. I was always saying if we could get the two Cooneys and Joe (Canning) and these lads ... this year is probably the first time we have had all of them firing fairly well at the same time.

"Some of them have been carrying injuries in the last couple of years as well and when you have them lads on form in that unit it makes things a lot easier. Hopefully we can keep lads injury-free. I don't think we picked up anything the last day so it is about managing that time frame and peaking for the final as well."

So they have the experience but this year will be different in that, regardless of who comes out of Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final between Cork and Waterford, they'll likely start as the bookmakers' choice.

"We probably will be (favourites) but we have been favourites for every game this year so it won't be any different," Burke said at the launch of the 22nd Annual Asian Gaelic Games sponsored by FEXCO.

"We just have to deal with that. It depends on how the game goes the next day. Cork could give Waterford a trimming and be favourites because they have been unbeaten as well.

"There'll be nothing in that (game), it will depend on the likes of Austin Gleeson, Kevin Moran, all of Waterford's big players. I think Cork have a better balanced team on paper but it will be an interesting game nonetheless.

"Tadhg de Búrca, if he is missing, that will affect the balance of their team a bit more but I think it could be in Cork's favour going into the game. Croke Park suits their type of hurling as well.

"I don't mind who we get but we will have to work really hard whoever we are playing against and we are excited to be in it and we realise we need to get the job done."

Galway have regularly been criticised for their lack of consistency in recent seasons. They have now won ten games on the trot in league and championship and need only to maintain that form for a little over three weeks to reach the promised land

"I suppose we won't know the opposition until Sunday, we'll maybe spend a week looking at tactics towards who we are playing.

"You seen the last day, it was just pure work-rate that got us over the line, especially around that area of the field. It was just purely portrayed in Whelan's hook on Michael Cahill, the game could have been completely different.

"In the last five minutes a game swings in so many different ways and it was the same last year and the year before. It's hard to know, you can't put a finger on anything really. Obviously we've experienced that gap before an All-Ireland final before and maybe we'll be a bit better prepared this time."


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