By Damian Dolan
Robert Emmetts’ Killian Burke says the “shackles” will be off when the new London senior hurling champions face Tooreen on Sunday (1pm in Athleague) for a place in the Connacht Club IHC final.
Kevin McMullan’s side came through an epic county final with St Gabriels at Ruislip on Sunday, which needed two periods of extra-time to separate them before Emmetts emerged victorious by 1-25 to 3-17.
They’ll now face a Tooreen side which beat Roscommon’s Four Roads by 0-29 to 0-19 last Sunday in their Connacht quarter-final.
“We’ll kick on now and the shackles will be off,” former Cork star Burke told the Irish World. “I’m confident and I’d back us to put in a performance.
“Winning today is a big boost for us. I know we have to turn it around next week, but it gives us a good platform.”
The Mayo side have pedigree in this competition. Champions in 2017, last year they beat St Gabriels at Ruislip on their way to again reaching the final, where they lost out to Galway’s Oranmore-Maree.
“They’re a very good side, they’ve got some really good players and we’ll have to be on top of our game if we’re going to beat them,” added Burke.
Tooreen also back-boned the Mayo side which beat London at Ruislip in March by 0-16 to 1-10, in what was effectively a Div 2A relegation play-off.
Seven of the Mayo starting team that day were from Tooreen and they had another four on the bench. Tooreen’s Shane Boland scored 0-8 (6f, 1’65) and Sean Regan three points.
It remains to be seen just how much last Sunday’s titanic final has taken out of Emmetts.
“It’s is a bit scary, but we’ll try and carry the momentum of this into next weekend,” said Burke.
Victory for Emmetts gave the club its first senior title since 2016 and avoided a third losing final in a row.
“You never want to be a part of losing three in a row. The hurt of last year was unbelievable – Benny (McCarry) spoke about it in his speech,” said Burke.
“It really spurred us on; we came back early this year and trained very, very hard.
“Everyone to a man stood up for the Emmetts today and did the job to get us over the line.”