End of an era
Two-time All-Star calls time on Galway inter-county career after 14 years
Sinéad Burke had a glittering journey with the Tribe, though it ended on an unfortunate note.

TWO-TIME ALL-STAR DEFENDER Sinéad Burke has confirmed that her glittering 14-year inter-county career with Galway has come to an end.

sinead-burke Bryan Keane / INPHO End of an era: Sinéad Burke. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Having made her senior debut in 2007, the Oughterard native went on to enjoy a glittering individual career with the Tribe, which ultimately culminated in All-Star awards in 2018 and 2019.

Burke was captain of the side in ’13 and ’14, steering them to successive Connacht titles and Division 2 league finals, seeing off Westmeath in the latter decider to seal their return to Division 1.

Galway have dined at the top table in recent years, with Burke central to their success.

Her first All-Star arrived in ’18 after the county won the Connacht title and reached the All-Ireland semi-finals. In ’19, they went one better, reaching the All-Ireland final for the first time since 2005, while that famous semi-final win over Mayo was Burke’s first outing in Croke Park.

sinead-burke-and-louise-ward-celebrate-the-final-whistle Morgan Treacy / INPHO Burke with Louise Ward after that win. Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Beaten by Dublin in the showpiece, they also reached the Division 1 league final that year.

In 2020, Galway had been frontrunners for the league crown before the Covid-19 pandemic shut Gaelic games down. Upon their return to championship action in the autumn, they beat Tipperary and Monaghan by one point each to seal their progression to the semi-final.

That one is remembered for all the wrong reasons after the late venue change and off-field controversy but it ultimately ended in a Cork victory, unfortunately, and came as Burke’s final appearance in maroon.

“She deserved better and for her career to finish like that was terrible,” former manager Tim Rabbitt told The Connacht Tribune recently.

“It was a bad experience for all involved with Galway ladies football.”

sinead-burke-and-mairead-seoighe-dejected Bryan Keane / INPHO Burke and Mairead Seoighe following that deflating All-Ireland semi-final exit. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Burke, who plays her club football with Armagh Harps and helped the Orchard side to county senior glory last season, now finishes up with nine Connacht SFC medals.

A teacher by trade, she previously lined out with with Dublin outfit Ballyboden St Enda’s, when she lived and worked in the capital.

Her native Oughterard are among those paying tribute to the retiring defender.

“Oughterard GAA/LGFA would like to congratulate Sinead Burke on the fantastic career she has had with the Galway Ladies,” the club wrote on Facebook.

“Sinead has been a wonderful ambassador for Oughterard, Galway and ladies gaelic football.

“Her achievements are many, including captaining Galway to two consecutive Connacht SFC titles. She herself has won nine Connacht SFC titles.

“She is the recipient of two All-Star awards from 2018 & 2019.

“Best wishes to Sinead in her retirement from inter-county football.”

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