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Galway's task at shutting down 'the engine room' and 'spiritual leader' of the Waterford team

Jamie Barron and Kevin Moran have starred for Galway this summer.

Kevin Moran against David Burke will be a key clash on Sunday.
Kevin Moran against David Burke will be a key clash on Sunday.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

GALWAY CAPTAIN DAVID Burke knows his role as around the middle will have a huge bearing on his side’s hopes this Sunday, but he’s expecting a fierce battle with Waterford duo Kevin Moran and Jamie Barron.

Alongside Johnny Coen, the St Thomas’ man has been a driving force behind the county’s the All-Ireland semi-final, but he is well aware that he needs one more big showing to cap a good season.

In a change from last season Burke was handed the majority of the defensive duties in the semi-final with Tipperary as Coen plundered a couple of great scores on the front foot, but considering the Déise duo hit 2-5 in their semi-final against Cork, Burke is wary of their threat.

“(Barron and Moran have been) massive all year. They have been the engine room for them all year,” said Burke, who will line out in his fourth All-Ireland final on Sunday.

“I came up against Kevin loads of time in colleges hurling and he is a spiritual leader for them too.

“Myself and Johnny have been chatting since the game and looking to see how we can nullify their threat. They will be doing the same. That battle is key and I think whoever wins it will probably win the game.

“They will have to match that performance of the last day. Brick Walsh is having a massive year too and Austin (Gleeson). But we are playing well too so it might start out as a bit of a chess game. But after that it might open up to be a thriller.”

History beckons for both sides this Sunday. They will either break free from their traditional hangups or become the latest of their compatriots to experience All-Ireland final woes this weekend.

David Burke Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

And even though Galway have just been waiting 29 years since their last win compared to Waterford’s 58 years, Burke wants to take this chance to claim just a fifth All-Ireland for the Tribesmen
“It is a final everyone will be happy with. It is a final with new champions and a massive gap since they won the last time. So the neutral will be thrilled with this spectacle of hurling.

“I think everyone in the country will want both teams to kind of win so it will be interesting to see what other counties will be supporting who. So from that sense it will be a massive spectacle for hurling.

“In 2015 it was such an exciting game. And I think Kilkenny might have been waiting for us in the long grass that year. We were there or thereabouts and managed to fall away when Kilkenny upped the intensity. I think it will be very similar the next day.

“Both teams will set whatever agendas they want to set out and you just have to match that intensity early on. They will know what we are trying to do as the 70 minutes go on and hopefully that will be enough to get us over the line.”

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When the sides last met in the league quarter-final at Pearse Stadium, many observers felt that Waterford’s first-half performance, and Galway’s second period dominance hinted that both teams had the raw materials to deliver in the championship.

Burke admits that they struggled with Waterford early on, but that their ultimate three-point victory – thanks largely to Joe Canning’s impressive 1-10 – was a key moment in their season.

“I was just chatting the cousins there. They wouldn’t go to many games but they left that one early because we were so far down. I said to them don’t come to a game for the rest of the year so,” joked Burke.

“It was massive and I remember leaving that day and I think people felt afterwards that there was something good to get onto there and there was massive crowd in Limerick for the semi-final and for the final. And we are grateful for that support.

“We had played Limerick and it was a bruising game. We had been starting early and struggled but it was more our own mistakes that day against Waterford – missed hand passes and silly frees.

“But I remember saying to Johnny Coen: ‘Were here playing against ourselves and were ten points down, we would probably come back and win it’. It is no different. That is the approach we took.

“And I remember saying to the half forward line ‘if we could pull out a bit and if we got on top of their puck out we could have a purple patch’. And that is what happened and it opened up.

“Joe’s performance too… he got some great scores and the penalty too. Look, they were using their whole panel too. It is the league and you have to give players a chance to perform.”

Source: The42 Podcasts/SoundCloud

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