Galway’s Burke tuned in for Wexford clash

Niall Burke, speaking at Centra’s launch of the GAA Senior Hurling Championship for 2019, talks Carlow, Canning, and championship hopes.

Niall Burke, speaking at Centra’s launch of the GAA Senior Hurling Championship for 2019, talks Carlow, Canning, and championship hopes.

Q: It mightn't have been perfect, but to get the win on the first day out against Carlow, was that all that mattered?

A: Yeah, for sure. Obviously that's the main objective, to get the two points and off to a good start. Obviously there's a few learnings we can take from the game. Carlow were well set up on the day and it's great to see them competing at this level. They're certainly playing at a high level so we'll take what we can from it and try and bring it into next weekend.

Q: What have you taken from that game against Carlow?

A: A few basic elements really, just to increase our intensity and work-rate. Some small things really. There's no major overhaul needed but, like any game, you can always learn from it and we'll take some learnings from it.

Q: Despite all the training and challenge matches, do teams just need to play that first championship game to blow off the cobwebs and get up to the tempo of the championship?

A: There is an element of that. Obviously there was a club break and we played league, but they're not the same at all as getting a championship game under the belt. Hopefully that'll help us to increase our intensity for the next day.

Q: Championship is all about winning and earning every ball, not just skill?

A: For sure. Hurling's all about skill, but you also need to be able to put in all the hard work all over the park. Increasing work-rate has become a key focus for all teams in the last decade, it's something that's not going to go away but going to get even bigger I think.

Q: What lessons did you learn from last summer, or do we just over-analyse it because Galway only lost one game - the All-Ireland final – and not by much?

A: I really think any team can beat anyone else on any given day. We did lose only the one game in the 2018 Championship, so it's not something we're going to analyse too much. We just focus on one game at a time. Obviously we were disappointed, but there's only so much analysis you can do of last year.

Q: Next up is Wexford, in Pearse Stadium next Sunday (4pm ), that'll be some occasion?

A: Yeah, we're really looking forward to it. The forecast is good, so hopefully it'll be a nice day and there's a big crowd promised in Salthill. Wexford is a serious team, we'll need to be fully tuned if we're to be in with a chance on Sunday.

Q: What's it like to face Davy Fitzgerald's teams, especially Wexford who you're most familiar with in the last few years?

A: You always know they're going to be well set up and the game is probably just going to come down to a few moments either way. It's all about winning those moments, and if you're not fully tuned in to them, you're not going to win the game. You really need to come fully prepared.

Q: This is the second year of Galway having proper 'home' championship games. Is it an advantage to you?

A: Well it's great for a start to get the same as everyone else – two home games. It's also great for supporters and the hurling community in Galway. To see the crowds there, and all the kids, to get them coming is great and it is really great to have big championship games in Galway again.

Q: How big a loss to you is Joe Canning (injured )?

A: He is a big loss, but he's working hard to get back and hopefully will be back again not too long, but it gives an opportunity to someone else, which is the other side of it.

Q: Has his loss meant a serious reshuffle of your forward line?

A: No, we always work to the same plan. There's 10 forwards competing for six slots, so it's business as usual really, with someone else looking to get in for that role.

Q: Joe Canning seems quite vocal on the field, so how will that leadership be missed?

A: He is, but he's still in the dressing room and it also gives an opportunity for someone else to step up. I don't think leaders is something that we're ever short of so it's not a major issue for us.

Q: How excited are you at this time of year, especially with the new format?

A: It's great. The games-to-training ratio has really improved now, the ground is hard and things are moving that bit faster and the crowds are bigger. This is what you play hurling for really, it gives you that buzz and that tingle in your spine.There's a balance to be struck, but I don't avoid the buzz. I try to absorb it because I think if you try to avoid it, you'll still come across it somewhere. So I use it to my benefit if possible.



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