Burke, Barry

June 05, 2010
The Late Barry Burke

It was a measure of the huge dedication which accomplished midfielder Barry Burke gave to the St. Thomas' Hurling Club that he insisted on training the club's U-16s this year despite having work commitments which took him all over the country.

Burke, who passed away following a tragic work accident last Wednesday, was one of the mainstays of the South Galway club's senior side and, even at just 25 years of age, was considered to be one of the more mature leaders of an extremely youthful team.

Born into a family immersed in hurling, the running joke around Peterswell used to be the two neighbouring Burke families could make up almost half a team on their own- brothers Patrick, Colin, and Adrian all played with the club; while cousins Kenneth and David have both captained Galway at underage levels in recent years, and Sean is also a keen hurler.

His father, Colm, and Uncle John instilled a love of the game into the talented youngster from a young age and it was of immense pride to both that Barry and 2008 county minor captain David had established a promising midfield partnership over the past couple of years. Colm is a former Chairman of the club and John the current senior team manager.

Work as an electrician ensured that Barry clocked up a huge amount of mileage, but he rarely failed to make it home to Castledaly for training and it was while working in Lahinch, Co. Clare, last Wednesday that he suffered the freak fall which resulted in his untimely death.

The shock and anguish around Peterswell, Castledaly and Kilchreest was palpable throughout the weekend, while Barry's popularity was reflected in the massive attendance at his Requiem Mass in Peterwells on Bank Holiday Monday.

"The whole hurling fraternity in Co. Galway is in shock following Barry's untimely death"

said the Hurling Board Secretary, John Fahey, who is also a neighbour of the Burkes. "All of the Burke cousins used to play hurling with each other from virtually as soon they could walk and you could not believe the devastation around here this week."

Given that there are 17 minors from two years ago in the current St. Thomas' senior panel, Fahey said it was clear that the younger players looked up to Barry as one of the more experienced leaders from the side who won the County Intermediate title in 2004.

That victory in Ballinasloe, which restored the club's senior status, thrilled everyone associated with the club, and none more so than Barry, who celebrated his 21st birthday on such a memorable day and was presented with a surprise birthday cake in Gullane's after the game.

As a mark of respect to the late Barry Burke, the senior hurling championship game between St. Thomas' and Sarsfields - which was due to take place this weekend- has been postponed.

Barry, the youngest of four hurling brothers, is also survived by his parents Colm and Maresa, sister Susan, grandmother Monica (Martyn) and long-term girlfriend Lorna Hehir, from Gort.

Courtesy of the Connacht Tribune

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