David Burke getting used to being a Galway legend
IRISH President Michael D Higgins may be fluent in both Irish and English, and also speaks Spanish, but even he was left speechless by Galway's senior hurling final triumph.
Although born in Limerick and brought up in Clare, Higgins has plenty of connections with Galway. And while he spoke to the Tribesmen after their League and Leinster victories, the win over Waterford in Croke Park earlier this month was a different matter, according to team captain David Burke:
“He was actually speechless after that one. He had a few words after the League final and the Leinster final, but the last day I'd say he was just pure in shock at what was after happening and speechless. I'm sure he was delighted, obviously he has close connections with Galway and he was over the moon.”
The Tribe skipper wasn't surprised by that, admitting that the enormity of ending the county's 29-year wait for the Liam MacCarthy Cup left him quiet too:
“It's hard really to put into words what you've done. It's kind of
life-changing really if you are to go on and win an All-Ireland.”
Although he was back in Croke Park to officially launch the new sponsorship of the GAA Allstars, becoming the PwC GAA/GPA Allstars, life has been “kind of getting back to normality in a way,” said Burke, “because you have club matches to play now as well – but maybe after that's over we will enjoy it a bit more for a few weeks over Christmas and then look at getting back into the new year.”
Conor Hayes, who was the previous man to lift the Liam MacCarthy for Galway, had said he would ‘die happy' after this year's success, and Burke is well aware of what the win meant to his county:
“I'd say he isn't the only one in Galway who'll die a happy man. You meet so many people that are just delighted.”
Burke offered some hope to their neighbours Mayo, whose wait for a senior football success will now stretch to at least 67 years after losing a nail-biting final to Dublin, suggesting that they need to take inspiration from how close they came to winning, this year and indeed last year.
“I think it is [a psychological thing for Mayo], it definitely is. You just have to stick with it.”
Galway lost last year's semi-final narrowly to eventual champions Tipperary, who then went on to hammer Kilkenny in the decider, and the Tribesmen drew on that, says Burke:
“Especially Tipp winning last year in the final the way they did, it definitely gave us belief anyway to go on…
“Having played Kilkenny there before that, and knowing they got beat like that and they were maybe slipping in the power, we knew that it might be our time soon if we stuck at it.
“We have a relatively young squad, and with the lads that went last year it would have got a bit younger. I suppose it was just a real drive and will to win.
“A lot of lads took ownership of that and matured a lot in the 12 months as well”.