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David Burke's Mother Helped Him Write All-Ireland Captain's Speech

PJ Browne
By PJ Browne Updated

It must have been a strange situation for President Michael D. Higgins on the steps of the Hogan Stand earlier this month. Usually such an articulate man, he found himself lost for words. The cause: his native Galway had won its first All-Ireland hurling title in 29 years.

"He had a few words after the League final and the Leinster final," said Galway captain David Burke. "The last day he was in pure shock and pure speechless after what was just after happening. He was obviously delighted and was over the moon really."

Burke had been far from speechless just minutes earlier. Shortly after Fergal Horgan had blown the final whistle, sealing a three-point win for Galway, he delivered an eight-minute speech - he was the first Galway man to do so after an All-Ireland hurling final since Conor Hayes in 1988.

Burke had written the speech shortly after the semi-final win against Tipperary four weeks earlier. He did so with the aid of his mother.

I wrote it three days after the Tipp game. I got help from my mother.

Sure I had one done for the Leinster final and the League final. I just put everything together and added in a few more bits.

Just bullet points really and gave it to the kitman Tex [James Callaghan] and one to my mother as well on the day. That was it, I didn't see it again until three weeks before the game.

It kind of took the pressure off me because you'd always be thinking, you'd leave this lad out or that lad out and going back to the speech and putting something in again. It was great just to get your mind off it and focus on the game.

Burke's speech remembered those connected with Galway hurling, past and present.

Tony Keady - whose family stood on the pitch beside Joe Canning as the speech was being made - received a prominent mention. As did Niall Donoghue. A Galway hurler, Donoghue took his own life four years ago. Referencing the tragedy shone a bright spotlight on mental health issues in Ireland.

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We've worked closely with The Charity Chariot, with Pieta House this year and they've gone to every game. In fairness, we have to give them a shout out.

Obviously, I would have been good old friends with Niall, growing up he'd be the same age as me. We played U14, U16, minor.

It was just an ideal opportunity to get 30 seconds in there and mention it. Obviously, Kilbeacanty club, I'd have close connections there. My godmother would have owned the pub up there. They're a great club and it was just great to bring the cup back there.

Back home in Galway, Burke said he received a good reception for his speech. Walking down the street, people thanked him for the mention. It was a relief.

I was mindful to hit every kind of aspect, if I could; try to mention everyone in a small way at a certain time.

Everyone was happy. I got plenty of lads saying thanks for the mention. When you're talking to such an audience, you forget what you said. When you meet them down the street and then they thank you, that was great.

PwC's sponsorship of the PwC All-Stars was celebrated with an event at Croke Park. Uachtarán Chumann Lúthcleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail, GPA Chief Executive Dermot Earley and Feargal O'Rourke, Managing Partner, PwC were joined by Galway's All Ireland winning hurling captain David Burke, Waterford hurling captain Kevin Moran and Kerry footballer Paul Geaney at the event. Pictured is Kevin Moran of Waterford in attendance during the PwC All-Stars hurling nominations at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

See Also: Galway Get 14 Hurling All-Star Nominations, But Waterford Dominate Player Of The Year Category

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