In only slightly different circumstances, Pat Burke might have been part of Dublin’s Allianz league four-in-a-row celebrations on Sunday instead of Clare’s slightly lesser heralded Division 3 success the previous evening.
Burke is the former Dublin forward who played for the Sky Blues in the 2011 league final against Cork but transferred to Clare, the county of his birth, in late 2014.
The Dublin-based Kilmacud Crokes player, an AIB All-Ireland Club medallist in 2009, had an instant impact last year with a number of important league goals and he started Saturday evening’s surprise Division 3 final win over Kildare.
Having played in each of Dublin’s Championship games in 2009, the 32-year-old is in the autumn of his career now but is thriving and has no regrets about what he possibly left behind in Dublin.
“Winning at Croke Park with Clare makes it all worthwhile,” said Burke, who commutes up and down to the Banner County.
“It is tough on the body at times but days like Saturday definitely make it worthwhile. There’s actually a huge amount of similarities between Clare and Dublin in terms of the commitment and the effort that people put in.
“We’re a bit more of a diverse group in Clare. There’s a good few lads in their 30s but there were three teenagers playing against Kildare as well. So in that sense it’s a little different and, personally, the amount of travelling makes it different as well.
“But generally there’s a lot of comparisons between the two counties. People at times look at Dublin and say they have the huge numbers and the huge pick, they’re constantly looking at the differences between Dublin and other counties.
“There is obviously a numbers and a resources difference there but at the end of the day it’s still two groups of players looking to get as much as they can out of themselves. That’s a constant wherever you go.”
Burke’s trophy collection is an interesting one; Leinster medals with Dublin, an All-Ireland with the club and now a Division 3 title success with Clare.
To add to the intriguing tale, he came to Gaelic football late as a 20-year old having initially impressed as a soccer player and secured trials with West Ham United.
It’s all about Clare now and after two promotions in three seasons they are eyeing the Championship and a Munster opener with Limerick on May 29 with great intent.
“Clare are not used to days like Saturday in Croke Park, on the football side of things I mean,” said Burke. “There hasn’t been many of those days. It was a fantastic victory for us. Kildare had given us a couple of bad defeats over the years, a couple of close games that we should have won. So it was great feeling to get that win at Croke Park. You could say we’re on a roll but we have to go out and play Limerick in the Championship and that’s the big one for us. We can’t look beyond that. But we’ll enjoy what we’ve done because the victories don’t come around too often.”
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