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Galway's defensive rock completed a novel set of All-Ireland medals in Croke Park yesterday

Full-back Daithí Burke was central to Galway’s day of glory.

pjimage Daithí Burke has enjoyed a brilliant run of success. Source: INPHO

YESTERDAY WAS A momentous occasion for the current bunch of Galway hurlers as they all got their hands on the Liam MacCarthy Cup for the first time.

And for full-back Daithi Burke, it was the final piece missing in his honours collection as he completed a novel set of All-Ireland medals.

He’s not the only Galway player to have minor, U21 and senior medals at county level along with a senior club honour – Joe Canning has now achieved that record on the back of his hurling exploits for Galway and Portumna.

But Burke’s achievement is interesting as he has shared his honours between football and hurling.

The 24-year-old plays hurling for Turloughmore and football for Corofin, illustrating with both his prowess as a dual star.

In 2009 he claimed an All-Ireland minor hurling medal at full-back as Galway saw off Kilkenny by 2-15 to 2-11 at Croke Park, Johnny Coen and Niall Burke amongst his team-mates on that side.

Daithi Burke celebrates with fans Daithi Burke after the 2009 All-Ireland minor hurling final Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

In 2013 he was part of a Galway side that triumphed in the All-Ireland U21 football decider by 1-14 to 1-11 against Cork, lining out at centre-back that night in the Gaelic Grounds.

Daithi Burke celebrates after the final whistle Daithí Burke celebrates the 2013 victory over Cork. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Two years ago on St Patrick’s Day, he emulated his father Gerry’s achievement in 1998 when starting at midfield as Corofin returned to the All-Ireland club football summit with a success against Slaughtneil.

Daithi Burke Daithi Burke in action for Corofin against Slaughtneil Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Then yesterday came the crowning glory with the Galway senior hurlers when they triumphed with Burke, an All-Star winner in 2015 and 2016, again playing a crucial role. His older brother Ronan (26) was an unused substitute for Galway on the day.

Padraic Mannion and Daithi Burke celebrate after the game Padraic Mannion and Daithí Burke lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Burke is not the only noted dual player in recent times in Galway. Alan Kerins won All-Ireland senior medals in different codes with the Galway footballers in 2001, and at club level with Salthill-Knocknacarra (2006 football) and Clarinbridge (2011 hurling).

In 2005 Barry Cullinane, a clubmate of Daithí’s in Turloughmore, won All-Ireland U21 medals in both codes with Galway, the only player in the county to achieve that feat in a calendar year.

Alan Kerins celebrates with manager Michael Donoghue Alan Kerins and Mícheál Donoghue celebrate the 2011 club hurling final victory. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Cork have had several noted dual exponents like Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Ray Cummins and Brian Murphy who won All-Ireland senior medals in different codes with club and county.

But in modern GAA times Burke’s achievement is a notable one given the increasing demands placed on players. He was coveted by the Galway footballers after his progress with the U21 side and Corofin yet opted to focus on hurling and became a defensive cornerstone as the Tribesmen ended their 29-year famine.

Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan has achieved something comparable as well. A substitute in last year’s All-Ireland senior football success that Dublin enjoyed, O’Callaghan was central to Cuala’s All-Ireland club hurling glory last March.

Con O'Callaghan celebrates scoring Con O'Callaghan celebrates Dublin's goal against Tyrone. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

On Sunday week he will be a central figure as Dublin aim to retain Sam Maguire after a summer of trail-blazing displays.

But in the aftermath of the 2017 hurling campaign, Daithí Burke can certainly reflect with huge personal satisfaction.

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