THE news that she had been named the star player in Cork City’s win against Wexford Youths recently came as a surprise to Danielle Burke.
But the statistics posted on the Women’s National League’s official Twitter account proved that she was deserving of the honour. Interceptions, seven; progressive pass accuracy, 100%; offensive duals won, 100%.
There was one stat that wasn’t included though. Sticking up for her team-mates; 100%.
“I was standing up for Saoirse, she got a bit of a push. I had to make sure she was alright, but she is well able. I had her back though,” laughs Burke.
“But no, I wasn’t expecting it at all, I was completely shocked by it. I didn’t think I had a great game there, but I suppose it was just because of the stats so I’ll take it anyway.
“The result was the most important thing so I was buzzing about the result more than that. I wasn’t thinking about being named player of the match, that was just a bonus.” That 2-1 triumph continued City’s impressive run this year and as the Women’s National League season enters its final two months, they still have two significant targets firmly in their sights.
The club’s highest-ever finish was third back in their maiden campaign in 2010 and with the second phase of the league beginning this weekend, and a top-five finish already secured, they are hoping to equal that, at least.
While in the FAI Cup, the Leesiders are one win away from reaching the final and two wins away from lifting the silverware for the second time in their history.
“The level of confidence at the moment is something that I haven’t experienced since I’ve been at City,” added Burke, who was a key part of the side that won the cup back in 2017.
“That’s been a huge step up for us, but it’s important for us not to get carried away with all the hype after our recent run.
“It’s important for us to stay grounded, keep training hard, and take it one game at a time. If we keep doing that, we will get the results we deserve.
“As we always say, we just take each game as it comes, but we should be confident enough that we can compete with the top three in the league.
“There’s no harm in aiming high so I wouldn’t say we have no chance of staying there in the top three, but it always comes down to each game, we will just take them as they come.
“The whole club overall, you can just see a huge improvement over the last few years. We haven’t been this far up in the league table in years but we just can’t get carried away with it now.
“We need to keep our position there, keep competing with all the top teams in the league, and get the results that we deserve.”
The 20-year old’s performances this season become even more impressive when you consider she only made the move into centre-back this year.
But she won’t be taking anything for granted as she looks to help her team continue their impressive campaign over the coming weeks.
“I’m in a new position this season, I think I have now played in every position for City besides goalkeeper,” she admitted.
“I’m after finding my feet a bit. It wasn’t something completely new to me because I had played centre-back for Ireland underage, I was a sweeper with the school and Passage as well.
“Ciara McNamara has definitely helped me and we have created a good partnership. When I was moved in there, I didn’t want to be a centre-back that just hoofed the ball long.
“I want to play, I want to keep the ball so I try to bring that into games. I have made mistakes, I’m still learning but I’ve been happy with my performances, I’m enjoying playing there.
“Individually I’m always competing to keep my place in the starting eleven so I hope that I can still play an important role in the starting eleven.
“Then our aim as a team is again to just keep taking each game as it comes and trying to finish as high up in the table as we can. We are also in the semi-finals of the cup and we want to bring that cup back to Cork. That’s a big deal for us so we hope to have a bit of success in that as well.”