When quizzed on the proposed changes to the hurling championship earlier this summer, Burke had no interest in kicking to touch.
The present model, he stressed, wasn’t working, citing the 11-week gap afforded to Waterford between league and championship and their subsequent no-show against Cork in the Munster semi-final as a prime example of its ineffectiveness.
Just last week, the Galway midfielder proclaimed that no county which employs a sweeper will win an All-Ireland.
All told, the three-time All-Star is as comfortable sitting in front of a table full of dictaphones as he is rubbing shoulders with Brendan Maher or Michael Fennelly in the centre of Croke Park.
Where manager Micheál Donoghue and, indeed, every other member of the Galway camp have consistently batted away talk concerning the county’s All-Ireland credentials, Burke is content to chat Liam MacCarthy.
That he doesn’t have an All-Ireland medal frustrates him. Belief, or softness, as is Burke’s description, was an issue in previous years. Not so, anymore. He knows the class of 2017 are capable of being first to the mountain top.
“We are definitely good enough to do it. I think the general public in Galway, sometimes, can be a biteen soft. That seeps into the players and the panel, as well. It is just a matter of getting that overriding factor away from the players, getting them believing that they can do it. That can be a slow process at times, but we are in a good place to do it now.”
Twenty-nine years have passed since Conor Hayes hoisted the Liam MacCarthy Cup for a second successive September.
The torch, insists the current captain, needs to be passed on.
“It was probably no different in Clare in 2013 from the teams in the 90s. Every time Galway go well, they go back to these lads and look for their insight. It is time for us to step up, to deliver and delivering a performance that is good enough to beat Tipp.
“The only way the conversation will stop going back to the lads of the eighties is if we win it. They want us to do well. They aren’t begrudging us. If we win, they are not going to lose their sense of greatness. In my eyes, they will always be great.”
Twice already this year Burke has found himself with a microphone in his hand and a fairly substantial piece of silverware in front of him. He’s hoping the Leinster final was but a dry run for September 3.
“It is good practice. Mentally, you are seeing yourself doing it. There is no reason why you can’t do it again. It is about seeing and believing that you can do it. That gets you over the line. That is probably the factor that got Kilkenny over the line before. It is all the top six inches, believing they are the best on the field and when it does come down to it, they can do it.
“Everyone in Galway knows the thing they want and they know what we want as a team. That is to get to September, to have a crack at it again.”
o do so, Tipperary must first be accounted for. Tomorrow marks the third consecutive All-Ireland semi-final meeting. Galway claimed the 2015 set by 0-26 to 3-16, the Premier County taking last year’s instalment by 2-19 to 2-18.
There were seven seconds remaining in regulation time at the end of last year’s clash when Conor Cooney kicked possession into the path of the 27-year old some 40 metres from Darren Gleeson’s posts. Trailing by 2-19 to 2-17, the westerners desperately needed a white flag. Burke didn’t make full connection with the sliotar, however, and his attempt to halve the deficit was comfortably gathered by the Tipperary goalkeeper. It is a shot he has replayed several times.
“I have the last five minutes in my head, I still have the memory of missing the point chance to bring it back to one point. We had a free which hit the post and went wide, then, I hit it into the goalkeeper’s hands. Shane Moloney got a point to bring it back to one. I thought we’d get a draw out of it. If we got that draw, the belief it would have given the rest of our forwards the fact that Joe (Canning) went off injured, we’d have been saying, ‘right yeah we can do this ourselves’.
“The talk all the time in the media is Galway don’t have a team outside of Joe. But we do. We’ve serious forwards there and you could see it the last day (against Wexford in Leinster final). It’s a whole team effort. We’ve been building on that the last couple of years.
“Joe is a massive team player as well, and obviously, we’re going to need him playing well the next day if we’re going to get over the line. But we’ll be hoping that four, five or six of the forwards will be on top the next day.”
It was very much a case of the collective rather than the individual on the afternoon of April 23, the Tribesmen inflicting a 16-point league defeat on tomorrow’s opponents. “It won’t be a big factor for us, but obviously it will be a huge motivation for them coming into the game. They will obviously want to put a few things right, but they have a few things to work on, no more than ourselves.
“They took a lot of criticism in the last number of weeks. They are going to be up for it, but we are going to be up for it as well.”