Ian Burke: 'Return of Silke and McDaid strengthens Tribesmen'
By John Harrington
2018 PwC Football All-Star, Ian Burke, believes the return of Liam Silke and Cillian McDaid to the Galway panel gives the Tribesmen a big boost ahead of the new season.
Silke, the 2017-2018 AIB Club Footballer of the Year, opted of inter-county football last year to go travelling, while McDaid has returned home after a season in the AFL with Carlton.
“Yeah, it's good to have new lads in there to freshen it up,” said Burke.
“It's obviously well needed. New lads are always welcome. They bring a different dynamic to the environment and it's good to have those lads back.
“There are one or two others who are coming in as well. It's exciting times for Galway. It's going to be a good year hopefully. It'll be a tough challenge too, but that's inter-county football.
“We're looking forward to getting back into it and giving it a good crack. There's big challenges coming along this year.
“The League is the first thing we're really focusing on. We have to deal with Mayo on Sunday too so that's a huge challenge given where they are.
“They seem to be flying, they have James Horan back and all that goes with that. So that should be an interesting game in Tuam on Sunday.
“That will probably give us a good gauge of where we are and then the League starts pretty much in January so it'll be another battle in there to stay safe and then see where the Championship takes us.”
The Galway panel might be stronger than ever this year, but the loss of team coach Paddy Tally could be a blow.
He seemed to have a very positive impact when he joined Kevin Walsh’s management team last year, but has since been appointed Down’s new senior football team manager.
“Paddy was a brilliant football coach,” said Burke. “When he was with Galway he was a smart man who brought a lot of good concepts to us. He'll make a great manager, I'd imagine, and he's definitely an asset to Down.”
Burke is currently dividing his time between training with Galway and his club Corofin who will play Ghaoth Dobhair in the AIB All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final on February 16.
The Galway side are defending champions, but look no less determined to win the ultimate prize this year as they did last year.
“Yeah, it's a testament to the lads back home and the management team,” said Burke. “They've put in all the hard work to make sure that we're fresh at the right times of the year. They're building it up again to have another good crack at this.
“Every team you face offers something different so we're just focused on a very good Ghaoth Dobhair team. You see all the players they have and the teams they've beaten, so we're under no illusions about what to expect coming up against them.
“Look, it's six weeks pretty much out to the game so we're fully focused on that and trying to get ourselves in the best shape we can to give it a good crack.”