Sport Hurling

Friday 23 February 2018

Tribes future starts in Thurles Galway to lay down marker against Tipp

Talented Burke wants

GALWAY'S David Burke sees the bigger picture. Tonight's Bord Gais U-21 hurling final is, in itself, a big event, but the young defender knows that development of players for the senior team is crucial as Galway continue to chase the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

And with Tipperary winning last Sunday's senior title, Burke feels Galway are close to the promised land.

"We have the talent coming through. We were in a lot minor finals over the last few years and I was unlucky enough; I lost two of them. If we were to get a result this weekend it could spark at bit interest and get the ball rolling.


"We're not too far away at all, especially when you look at Tipp on Sunday and we could have beaten them in the quarter-final.

"It probably takes more time and practice at closing out games. That'll come with time."

The odds are stacked against them tonight. Tipperary will have eight shiny new Celtic crosses in their dressing-room, while Galway have just two players that were on John McIntyre's senior squad.

There's also the small matter of playing the Premier County at Semple Stadium. Burke makes no attempt to hide his disappointment at the decision but the St Thomas' clubman insists the squad had put it aside.

"The players would have been unhappy and maybe the supporters too, but we'll leave that," he says.

"We're trying to concentrate on our own game and not get sidetracked. The players know what has to be done."

Tipp also have the advantage of a meaningful Munster campaign behind them, while Galway have played just 60 minutes of competitive hurling together -- their All-Ireland semi-final win over Dublin.

After losing two minor finals, Burke wants to see the Tribesmen's underage sides make the move to Leinster to aid player development out west.

"You can play hard challenge matches to get yourself right but they're not the same as championship matches, as Tipp got in Munster. They know themselves they were lucky against Cork.

"We were happy to get over Dublin. Some people are giving out, saying we should have matches under our belt, but we can only do what is in front of us.

"We were going in fresh and we're happy enough to have come out with the win. We wanted to get the result. It wasn't pretty, but it came down to work rate again."

Against Dublin, they improved visibly as the game wore on. In fact, Dublin were kept to just five points after the change of ends, with Burke unerring from long-distance frees. With Joe Canning now overage, the scoring burden has to be spread across the team.

"We knew it wasn't a one-man show. We're counting on each other," he says. "It worked for us the last day and it's the little hooks and blocks that count. Hopefully, we can bring the same performance the next day and we won't be far away."

The bookies don't give Galway much of a chance. Tipperary have been installed at 1/5 for tonight's match and, despite all the celebrations in the county, Padraic Maher insisted that the senior players on the panel will have little trouble coming back down to earth for tonight.

Michael Cahill had the busiest week of all, as he graduated from UCC on Tuesday afternoon and was back in Tipperary for training that evening.

"It's great times at the moment," Maher admits. "We're so lucky to be involved in both camps.

"You'd take either of them with both hands at any other time.

"We're just privileged to be involved in two All-Irelands in the space of a week.

"The supporters are thrilled and the place is hopping at the moment. Please God, we can give them something else to shout about."

Irish Independent

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