Burke: We won All-Ireland playing with sweeper

He said that he didn’t think a team would win an All-Ireland senior hurling title playing a sweeper but then David Burke admits Galway operated one.

He also suggested Cork would beat Waterford in their All-Ireland semi-final only to be proved wrong.

The Gaelic Writers Association’s Hurling Personality of the Year and All-Ireland winning captain isn’t afraid to share his opinion even if he accepts it might have left him with egg on his face.

“Well, it nearly backfired on me now,” Burke smiles of his semi-final prediction.

“When I was doing the interview, I was comparing two teams and everybody took me up wrong.

"I wasn’t saying Waterford weren’t good enough; I was saying they could still possibly win because they had better individual hurlers and it obviously proved to be that way because Jamie Barron and Austin Gleeson scored two serious goals.”

As for the sweeper remark, Burke accepts Galway have had to replicate the tactic to counteract it.

“We played a sweeper against Dublin, two against Offaly and one against Wexford — the only time we didn’t play a sweeper was against Tipperary. And we played a sweeper against Waterford because they were playing one.

“We were better prepared for the Waterford game because of those other games when we played a sweeper and we won the All-Ireland playing with a sweeper and people don’t even know that.

"It’s funny that people just have this perception of it, that Waterford set up in this way, but they and Wexford are progressing with that game-plan even further with midfielders pushing up the field and half-backs in the case of Wexford.

“I think next year is going to be interesting to see how those teams progress.”

Burke, in county championship action with St Thomas against Killimordaly this afternoon, likes the way the All-Ireland senior hurling championship is changing but doesn’t know if it’s the finished article.

“There are more games for everyone. It’s about progress and where we want to get to in a few years. It’s a trial and error thing. This system mightn’t work but we have to see how it goes.”

Next year will mark Galway’s first championship game at home since 2011, a game in which Burke featured. “We played Clare inside in Pearse Stadium and then we played the next qualifier the following week in Limerick against Cork and then lost the quarter-final to Waterford. We played three weeks in a row. It’s great to get home championship games.

“You could get Kilkenny at home or go to Nowlan Park and it might just bring the crowds up. I know people are worried the knock-out element will be gone but I think you’re still going to get good games.

“I don’t think you’re going to have teams falling back.”


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