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Burke aiming for more new ground

Published 07/02/2013

By John Fallon

ALLSTAR David Burke is hoping to crown a remarkable year by guiding St Thomas's from Galway to a first All-Ireland Club SHC final appearance when they take on reigning champions Loughgiel Shamrocks on Saturday.

Burke said there has hardly been time to take stock over a hectic period which saw him win a Leinster SHC medal, play in his first All-Ireland senior final, win an Allstar and then go on and capture his club's first county title with a side managed by his father and with his five brothers also on board.

It has been hectic off the field as well as he secured a teaching job at his alma mater, St Brigid's Vocational School in Loughrea, after graduating from the University of Limerick.

"It's been fairly hectic alright, but we are enjoying it. There seems to be something new each time and preparing for an All-Ireland club semi-final is new ground for us as well," said Burke.

St Thomas's had never been in a Galway senior final before, but their victory over Gort captured the imagination of the country with manager John having six sons on the team.

"It just epitomises club championship around the country," said Burke.

"If you go to any club team in the country you'll have numerous families. You could have five or six brothers playing on any team.

"We are just lucky with the group of players we have at the moment, we are driving each other on to try and win as much as we can at the moment.

"There was great excitement after we won the county title. It was new ground for us but we have been training hard since Christmas. The county final win is long behind us and we now want to see how far we can go."

BURKE said that there is no danger of them under-estimating Loughgiel at Parnell Park on Saturday.

"They have much more experience than us at this level. Loughgiel Shamrocks are deserving All-Ireland club champions, they deserve massive respect for that.

"Hopefully we can get our preparation right and try and come on the day with a good performance of hurling and see where that takes us, but we know we will need a big display."

Burke will return to the Galway scene when their involvement in the All-Ireland club series is over and he believes that Anthony Cunningham - who is also a St Thomas' clubman - can push them on from last year.

"We were very disappointed last year with the way we left things at the end of September," he said.

"Looking back on it now we probably should have won it the first day against Kilkenny. They weren't going to leave us a third shot at it again after we beat then in the Leinster final.

"It was savage disappointment after the work we put in all year. Even though we were dark horses coming into that Championship we still felt we could have gone on and won it because we had the players to do it. Hopefully we can get the training right against this year and players can train as hard as they did in 2012. we won't be far away again from it.

"There is a small bit of added pressure on performances, people will be looking at us, but it has evened out a lot now. There are a lot of good teams coming through, so we'll want to keep ourselves on our toes and watch for that as well.

"Teams will watch how we play and try and stop us as well. Hopefully we can keep the workrate up and keep going at that."

But for now all his attention on extending the fairytale for a club who have less than 200 houses to choose from in an area that is little more than seven miles by two, between Loughrea and Gort.

"Hurling is all that matters here. It's been a great year but we believe we can go further and that's the approach we will take going into this one," said Burke.