There is something about Davy Burke, hard to put one's finger on it but it is certainly all positive.
Could be the infectious laugh; the smile on his feasóg; or simply his enthusiasm for football, regardless of the team he is managing.
We saw it when the Confey man led Kildare U20s to All Ireland success in 2018 but even before that when he managed his native club, Confey, it was obvious he had something, maybe modern day jargon would describe as the 'X Factor' but whatever it is he has it and come 2020 it will be very interesting to see how he brings all that to the Wicklow set-up when he takes over The Garden County.
But for now it is all about next Sunday; county final day; Moorefield; local derby, and he can't wait.
“This will be my first time to be involved in a county final between Sarsfields and Moorefield; my first one, I have been at a lot of these games as a spectator and it is something for a long time I wanted to be involved in.
“It's the buzz; the atmosphere; the niggle, I love it. I love competitive football; love sitting down and planning to beat other teams; especially if they are perceiv-
ed to be a better team; I just love it; it ticks all the boxes for me and that's for sure.”
The commitment that Davy Burke brings to the table can be seen when you go back to August 2018, three days after that win, Davy and his bride, of close to exactly three months, headed off on their honeymoon; their delayed honeymoon.
Having walked up the aisle on the first Saturday of May, Davy was back in Hawkfield two days later taking a training session with his young squad; that's the measure of the man (and it has to be said his now wife Shauna also).
Having won the U20s Davy set his sights on the Kildare senior job but when that didn't work out he was certainly not short of options to get involved at club level.
“I had couple of lads knocking on my door but in truth Sarsfields was the only one I took anyway serious. It was probably a good time to get involved; they having lost the previous two quarter finals; top club; I had four or five of them on my 20s squad so I knew if those lads older brothers were anything like their younger lads, there was certainly a basis for a team.”
But does it take long to get to know players coming in relatively cold; and when did you feel you had something more than decent to work with?
“It does take a while with both players and the management team as I was adamant I was bringing in a full Sarsfields back-up squad (along with my brother) ten in total, all Sarsfields; so yes it takes a while on both counts.
“And it showed” adds Davy, “our early league form was certainly mixed; in some respects I feel we maybe jumped to Stage 3 instead of learning to walk before we ran; it took a while but it has worked out; I know and understand everyone now, and even more importantly they understand me; so we have a nice understanding” as that impish smile appears again.
“As for when I though we might have something here, ironically it was in the first game against Athy back in April I think; we lost that one, gave away a terrible early goal, but I felt I saw enough that day to suggest we might, just might, have the makings of a decent team.
“But going back to the start of the league, we played Athy in Round 1 and beat them well, 9 or 10 points, and then the following week, we went to Moorefield and the game was over after 20 minutes; it was like men against boys as we left there with our tails between our legs.”
The opening group game saw Sarsfields defeat Moorefield by one point to set up topping the group, that must have been very encouraging?
“Of course but I would not be putting too much emphasis on that game to be honest, yet it was great, especially for the younger boys to get a win over Moorefield and in St Conleth's Park, but I would not be too sure how much of an emphasis Moorefield would have put on that game; they would have liked to win but they are a team that time their run and we have seen that in the latter stages of this championship, so we won't be taking that win as any great indicator.”
And the semi final against Celbridge, you must have been pleased with that?
“We did ok on a terrible day and I feel that the league semi final against Naas, in very similar conditions, did us a world of good for that championship semi final; that day against Naas, which we lost, stood to us; a lot of handling errors; players running into big lads and coming off second best but we learned from it and I think against Celbridge we used the ball better but we did a lot of work that day also.
“Certainly Celbridge playing Confey two weeks in a row did nothing for them (Celbridge); they learned nothing from that and I really believe the County Board should take another look at the championship format; playing a team in the quarter final that you have already met (and beat) is of no use to anyone.”
So looking forward to Sunday?
“I can't wait, I love it, love planning to bring down a team; love planning to take teams apart, that's why I am here; our boys seem to be enjoying it but we do face the biggest task of the season on Sunday and we realise that; Moorefield going for their three-in-a-row, but I can't wait, just can't wait.”
The impish grin arrives again from a man that loves his football, loves being involved at this level and while Davy will be on the move when ever this particular journey ends, somehow I feel we will be hearing a lot more from him down the line.
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