DAVID Burke always knew this day would come. The St Thomas’ clubman isn’t arrogant – far from it – and he wasn’t being presumptuous, or dismissive of the opposition. But all year the midfielder felt it in his bones that he would captain Galway back to the Holy Grail after 29 years.
“I just believed myself I was nearly born to do this, in a way, do you know?” he said. “I fully believed it all year. We were good enough to do this . . . I just knew during the week that there was something good going to happen.
“I just knew there was something special about this group of lads and I’m just thrilled to be a part of it and be a captain for the team. I knew myself that I was good enough to go up the steps (of Hogan Stand) and accept that cup on behalf of the team and the management. That’s what I kept telling myself all year. It’s not easy all the time, you’ve ups and downs throughout the year. We took awful slack after the Wexford game (in the League). Do you know, there was serious doubt . . .
“I think lads just realised, even myself and Joe (Canning), being the more senior players, that now was the time. There comes a stage you have to say to yourselves, ‘we’re good enough to do it, why aren’t we doing it?’”
That stage came in the second half, when the All-Ireland final was in the melting pot against Waterford. “It’s not easy out there in the heat of battle. It’s 55 minutes on the clock, doubt comes in and you can’t let that come into you. I just said to Joe (Canning) and Johnny (Coen), now is our time to drive on and win a bit more.
“We did that. We won a bit more ball around the middle. Then Niall (Burke) and Jayo (Jason Flynn), got a few scores, they were massive scores, when they came on. Niall won a savage free – he caught a puck-out. Those are the moments that win All-Irelands,” he said.
The agony of losing the 2015 decider and suffering the heartache of falling in the semi-final to Tipperary by a point last year, stood to them, he said.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.