A LIGHT has been blown out in Newmarket GAA circles on the passing of former dual player Donal Burke.
Though domiciled in Loughrea, Co Galway, Donal remained in contact with his native Newmarket and earlier this year attended a 50th anniversary get together in Charleville that recalled Newmarket’s outright victory in the 1970 junior county.
Donal was the youngest member of the starting line up to the campaign that will be forever etched in the memory of Newmarket supporters on sweeping to their first county title in the grade. That win was made all the sweeter after Newmarket became the first side to win a hotly competitive Duhallow championship three years in succession when they defeated Dromtariffe by a five-point margin.
Newmarket availed of the chances that came their way, amply illustrated by not kicking a single wide in the opening half whereas a wayward Dromtariffe registered nine wides by the break.
Into the county, Newmarket recorded a comprehensive victory over Valley Rovers before they offered impressive reserves of stamina and character to hold off Douglas in a thrilling semi-final. The scores were level four times during the hour and tension was at breaking point with less than three minutes to go when Newmarket full-forward Ben Eardley sent over the crossbar from a pointed free for the match-winner.
That secured Newmarket a ticket to their third appearance in a County JAFC final, hoping to overcome the previous disappointment of losing to Urhan in a game played at Killarney in 1928 before surrendering to Canovee on a replay in 1950.
Third time lucky for Newmarket on smashing the hoodoo in the 1970 decider after lowering the hopes of Adrigole in the Macroom staging. The patience and loyalty of Newmarket supporters had been tested for many a year but on this occasion, they shed tears of pure joy on a historic day.
The triumphant Newmarket panel included Jim Culloty, Tony Forde, Jer Dowling, Ted Feehin, Jack Collins, Seanie Daly, Con Collins, Neilius Collins, Billy Daly, Donal Burke, Jim Deasy, Eddie O’Sullivan, Donal O’Gorman, Ben Eardley, T D Cronin, Michael O’Halloran, Paudie Feehin, Michael Flanagan, Jim O’Gorman, Diarmuid Flaherty, Jim Tobin, John Dwyer.
Newmarket GAA expressed sadness to hear of the passing of a key team member. During a distinguished career, the late Donal helped Newmarket win two Duhallow JAFC titles, a Co JAFC, three Duhallow JAHC titles, three Junior A Hurling Leagues and an Examiner Cup.