You don’t sleep much after a big defeat in the Championship and, alone with his thoughts, Galway captain David Burke has dissected the Leinster SHC final in all its minutiae.
Three points up at half-time against Kilkenny, seven down at the final whistle, it was a familiar story that played out upon the same lines as last year’s All-Ireland final.
“It was a funny game,” said Burke. “I thought we actually hurled better in the first-half last year in the Leinster final and even the All-Ireland final compared to this year’s Leinster final, yet we were still winning. We probably should have been five or six points up at half-time, even more maybe with the way we were playing. We conceded very stupid scores.
“If they are to be beaten you have to be leading by that much at half-time and the 10 minutes after half-time is really crucial against them then. That’s what we’ve learned.”
Midfielder Burke takes some of the blame upon himself for the recent provincial final reversal, admitting he didn’t show enough leadership.
“Coming up to even before they got their goal, we were still three points up and I remember saying they were kind of opening us up behind six,” continued the St Thomas club man. “TJ Reid was pulling it out the field and I was saying, ‘Should I go back in the hole now and just close up for a few minutes?’
“Once they got the goal then it was kind of ‘push on and get some scores back’, which we did, we got them back to one. And after that I was still saying, ‘Should I sit?’ Next thing they hit us with four points before you could even think of what you should do.
“Even though I knew I should have went back and tightened up a bit at the back and pull out maybe a wing-forward into midfield...look, they’re the things you kind of have to do yourself in a game, where you can’t just leave it up to management.”
Burke makes the point that while Galway have consistently struggled to beat Kilkenny, they’ve shown they can overcame pretty much any other team, famously taking out Tipperary in last year’s All-Ireland semi-finals.
It’s that thought they will cling to ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Clare in Thurles, their opportunity for redemption.
“Look, you can look at it two ways; as an opportunity for redemption, use that as a motivational factor rather than thinking of it as a big game with more pressure, Thurles, quarter-final against Clare,” he said.
“I’d like to that take all that away from it and use the first approach. That might be better for us.”
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