David Burke tips a 'better balanced' Cork team
By John Harrington
Galway hurling captain David Burke has a sneaking suspicion the Tribesmen will be faced by Cork in the All-Ireland Final.
Cork and Waterford do battle in Sunday’s semi-final and though Burke believes it’ll be a tight match, he gives Cork a slight edge going into it.
"There’ll be nothing in that as well, 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," said Burke yesterday at the launch of the 2017 Fexco Asian Gaelic Games.
"Tadhg de Burca 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 and 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.”
Regardless of who they play, Burke believes Galway can raise their level again beyond what was required to beat Tipperary last Sunday.
And he also thinks there will be less pressure on them going into the Final than there was before the Semi-Final against Tipp.
“I think there is definitely more in us going into the Final and not as much pressure going into it so that might help us as well,” says Burke.
“I think the last day and the fact we were playing Tipp three years in a row and they were one-point games.
“In ‘14 they beat us in Thurles and in 10 there was little in it as well and it was that tit for tat and who was going to get one up and who and the fact they were All Ireland champions and the fact that we got over that line there might not be as much pressure on us going into the Final now.”
This will be Burke’s fourth time to play in an All-Ireland Final having lost the 2012 Final after a replay to Kilkenny and then the 2015 Final to the Cats again.
The core of this Galway team played in those three matches against Kilkenny and Burke believes that experience has to count for a lot going into this Final.
“It’s massive,” he says. “To have the experience the last day of having payed in semi-finals before and the final in 15 and a lot of them have been there since 12 and they were young lads at the time.
“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 too.
“I was always saying if we could get the two Cooneys and Joe and these lads…and 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.”
Burke admits it would be a life-changing experience were he to captain the first Galway team to win an All-Ireland senior title since 1988.
“Ah it will, but I'm trying not to think of it like that,” he says. “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. That's the way I'm building it up for myself.
“My job being captain is very easy when you have Joe, 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.”