Meath’s Mickey Burke is one of the GAA’s true characters, what you see is what you get with him, he wears his brimming heart firmly on his sleeve. In tandem with being such a lively figure, a warriors spirit also shines through. This year Mickey will be representing Meath senior hurlers and footballers for an astonishing 16th season, an incredible achievement considering the ever-increasing demands an inter-county player has to make in todays age. We were interested to find out what role Longwood has had on Mickey throughout his career and who better to tell us, than ‘The Honeybadger’ himself.
1. Describe your first memories of Longwood GAA Club?
One of my first memories is going to play my first game against our local rivals Ballinabrackey. We have an all-white kit and I remember forgetting my shorts and having to wear a pair of black tracksuit bottoms, I don’t know why my father didn’t just spin down the road and get my shorts! There’s a photo of it somewhere I think, everyone all togged out in the kit and then there’s me with a pair of white socks over my tracksuit bottoms!
2. Who was your childhood sporting heroes?
Darren Fay and Mark Reilly were from my neck of the woods in South Meath they would have also went to the same school as me in St. Michael’s in Trim. I was too young for the great Meath team of the ’80s but, the 90’s teams were really special. Kieran McGeeney was another player I hugely admired. From a hurling perspective I loved Brian Whelahan and John Troy from Offaly, their skillset was unbelievable.
3. What has been your proudest moment in a Longwood jersey?
There has been a good few, in football terms we went from Junior B to Senior, winning a Leinster title on the way which I was captain for. Winning the Intermediate out of nowhere in 2018 was special, it was like Leicester City winning the Premier League, we had been fighting relgation for years and staying up again was our main priority. Everything just seemed to just go right for us that year. Old men were crying when we won it, it was simply unbelievable. Lifting the Junior B cup as captain with my father in 2009 was also really special, he’s a great man within the club and has done so much over the years so it was great to have that moment with him as well.
4. Who is the Toughest player you’ve played against at club and county level?
I don’t want to sit on the fence but it’s hard to say one, there are lads that always want to have a cut at you within Meath, they’re all tough. Outside Meath, I’ve been lucky to play against some of the best. Bernard Brogan and Andy Moran were hard to handle. Moran literally never stops moving and the ball always sticks to him.
5. Have you any superstitions or pre game rituals?
I try to just do all the little things right. Eat, Sleep and stay hydrated. One thing is, I wear steel studs the whole year-round. The great Bob O’Malley use to drill that into me when I was playing under him!
6. What are your hopes for the future with Longwood?
Keeping the dual status of the club. Traditionally we are a hurling club and winning a Senior Hurling Championship would be a huge goal. On top of that integrating more kids into the club and continuing the development of the younger lads in the club.
7. What’s the funniest story you have from all your years playing with the club?
In my first senior hurling game, there was a 29 man brawl. Now, bearing in mind I was 15 years old looking at lads taking the heads off each other so I was the only man on the field not to get involved. Fast forward 10 years and I’d probably be in the middle of it, but at the time it was a learning curve!
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