John Burke in hurling heaven

A ‘beautiful occasion’ for St Thomas manager John Burke.

A ‘beautiful occasion’ for St Thomas manager John Burke.

When six of your sons are on the field of play the day your beloved club wins its first All-Ireland, it is easy to think any manager would think they were having a dream.

Not so for St Thomas’ manager John Burke on St Patrick’s Day, but a journey that has taken a lifetime to fulfil.

“Coming home on Sunday night was a massive high for us all,” he says. “ From the young to the old, they were down in the local field. From Richie Murray’s young son Gerard to Mary Kate Geoghegan who is 90, the whole parish was there and it was a beautiful occasion. We had dinner in Gullane’s in Ballinsloe on the way down and coming out home was a memory we will all cherish.”

Burke was understandably exhausted by the time his head hit the pillow sometime after midnight, but he was awake early on Monday to savour the moment.

“We had no plans in place before the game. It is easy to put plans in place if you win. And a key thing we wanted to do was to visit the two national schools on Tuesday. The reaction of the children was magical. We have only two small four-teacher national schools in Kilchreest and Peterswell and all the players were looking forward to bringing the cup back to their own local school.”

Burke is a real believer and a hurling fanatic. Despite Galway’s heavy loss to Tipp on Monday, he believes that the current Galway squad will also see All-Ireland glory over the next few years.

"The men in charge are genuine hurling men, and there is a few great young players around the place. They have good youth and it will happen. It may take a few years, but I fully believe Galway will win an All-Ireland in the next few years. It will take patience and the team and management needs our support but, when they get the blend right, they will be very hard stopped."

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