Supporting Sport

Team boss Burke lauds work ethic of players in epic win

By Eanna O’Reilly

FOLLOWING St. Thomas’ epic one point victory over O’Loughlin Gaels in Sunday’s All-Ireland club final at Croke Park, team manager Kenneth Burke was savouring a tremendous achievement for the club.

‘‘It really was heart stopping stuff out there today. We knew it was going to go down to the wire and thank God now we came out the right side of it. In fairness to the lads, they never stopped working, which was vital, especially when we went down to fourteen men. We really had to dig deep there today,’’ he said.

‘‘We [management] told them all week that no matter what happens, we never stop working for it and after that, the result would look after itself. Even in the lead up to the last score [by Eanna Burke] we turned them over twice, we managed to stop them coming out with the ball and got tackles in. Things like that are always vital in these finals.’’

Burke was proud of his side for overcoming the ferocity of O’Loughlin Gael’s challenge in a battle for the ages. St. Thomas’ were tested on every level during the game, but the manager was delighted with the resolve displayed by his players once again.

‘‘It was point for point the whole way through. Both teams were getting great scores, and it was a ferocious battle in the middle of the field. Both teams certainly left everything out there today. You had two sets of players just emptying themselves from start to finish, and it just made for a great game.’’

‘‘We weren’t happy with how we played in the first half. We needed to lift ourselves and play with a bit more quality. We had a good bit of possession but weren’t converting it into scores. When we went down a man, we were forced to lift it, really. Our backs were to the wall, but in fairness, the lads stood up to it. No one was looking around expecting someone else to do it, they had to step up and do it for themselves.’’

Pictured: St Thomas’ manager Kenneth Burke shows his joy after his side’s victory over O’Loughlin Gaels of Kilkenny in Sunday’s All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Final at Croke Park. Photos: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile.

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