David Burke: Galway players ‘buzzing’ over Henry Shefflin appointment

Kilkenny legend Shefflin has a job on his hands to reverse Galway fortunes after a 2021 campaign where the county lost both their championship outings to Dublin and Waterford
David Burke: Galway players ‘buzzing’ over Henry Shefflin appointment

David Burke of St Thomas' consoles Patrick Foley of Clarinbridge after the Galway SHC final between Clarinbridge and St Thomas' at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Galway hurler David Burke has said the Tribesmen are “buzzing” to begin working with new manager Henry Shefflin.

The Kilkenny legend was the surprise choice of Galway’s high-profile selection committee in mid-October, with the county’s 2017 All-Ireland-winning captain Burke describing the appointment as “fierce positive”.

Shefflin, in his first inter-county managerial gig, has a job on his hands to reverse Galway fortunes after a 2021 campaign where the county lost both their championship outings to Dublin and Waterford respectively.

“A new manager, it’s very exciting. It’s fierce positive, there seems to be a good buzz around the county among supporters and everyone alike. And the players are buzzing and really looking forward to it,” said four-time All-Star midfielder Burke.

“Again, it comes back to the simple stuff and putting it in on the training field. That’s where the performances come from.” With Joe Canning having announced his retirement shortly after Galway’s championship exit at the hands of Waterford, there was a further loss of experience last Friday when half-back Aidan Harte stepped off the inter-county carousel. The decision of both to hang up their boots means 31-year-old Burke — he turns 32 next month — is now one of the oldest members of Henry Shefflin’s panel.

“I played with and against Aidan for as long as he’s been with Galway. He’s a super player, a serious leader on and off the field, as well. It’s a pity, but as he said himself, the injuries have taken a toll on his body. He has left everything on the field.” Burke will be a late returnee to the Galway camp on account of St Thomas’ involvement in next month’s All-Ireland club series. Sunday’s three-point win over Clarinbridge represented St Thomas’ sixth Galway SHC title in 10 years and fourth on the bounce, the latter a feat no club has achieved since the Turloughmore team of the mid-1960s.

“It’s been 57 years since it was done, but we never spoke about it. We just keep our heads down. This is just a driven bunch of players and they love the battle and the dogfight of a game more than anything. That’s what we thrive on, and we all just love hurling — that’s it, simple as.

“We set high standards at training, and we keep them high. The matches we play between ourselves are ferocious. I’d often get more belts out of them than in championship games.”

Meanwhile, former Galway star Davy Glennon is among seven Westmeath players to be included on the Joe McDonagh Cup Team of the Year for 2021. Glennon made a little piece of history last July by adding a McDonagh Cup win to the All-Ireland senior medal he previously won with his native county in 2017.

He was a non-playing substitute for the 2017 final win over Waterford but played a key role for Westmeath — whom he qualified to play for under the parentage rule — in 2021, elevating them to a breakthrough win in the Tier 2 competition.

Glennon scored 0-5 in the final defeat of Kerry while experienced defender Tommy Doyle, who played at centre-back, has been named overall Player of the Year in the competition.

Joe McDonagh Cup Team of the Year: Stephen Keith (Down), Darragh Egerton (Westmeath), Conor Woods (Down), Eric Leen (Kerry), Aonghus Clarke (Westmeath), Tommy Doyle (Westmeath), Fionan Mackessy (Kerry), Robbie Greville (Westmeath), Brian Byrne (Kildare), Davy Glennon (Westmeath), Killian Doyle (Westmeath), Jack Regan (Meath), Chris Nolan (Carlow), Niall Mitchell (Westmeath), Shane Conway (Kerry).

2021 GAA/GPA Champion 15 selection: Simon Doherty (Armagh/Rackard), Sean Cassidy (Derry/Ring), Ciaran Burke (Offaly/Ring), Rory Porteous (Fermanagh/Meagher), Enda Shalvey (Cavan/Meagher), Ben Conneely (Offaly/Ring), David Kenny (Mayo/Rackard), Cathal Freeman (Mayo/Rackard), Cormac O’Doherty (Derry/Ring), Damian Casey (Tyrone/Rackard), Gerard O’Kelly Lynch (Sligo/Ring), Sean Corrigan (Fermanagh/Meagher), Oisin Kelly (Offaly/Ring), Eoghan Cahill (Offaly/Ring), Keith Higgins (Mayo/Rackard).

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