Derek recently took up his position as Celebrity Bainisteoir of Castleisland Desmonds football team for this year's hit TV show. Honoured to be invited on the show as one of the eight Bainisteorí, Derek was delighted when he was recently introduced to his team and took charge of training for the first time. Eager for the upcoming competition, Derek says the strong club and community spirit evident in the North Kerry town will undoubtedly come to the fore and combine to mount a serious challenge for the winner's spot this year.
Match 1 - The Quarter Final
In the quarter final, Castleisland were opposed by Nuala Carey's Shannonbridge side. Following defeat in the home venue decider in the Curragh, Desmonds travelled to Shannonbridge having received a great send off from their loyal supporters at home. In a closely fought encounter Castleisland ran out victors, as Derek had predicted they would, with a 2-10 to 2-06 scoreline. A brilliant display by Castleisland against a spirited Shannonbridge team.
Match 2 - The Semi-Final
The semi-final was an equally tense affair. Having won the home venue decider in the Curragh, Desmonds entertained Kilconly at home in Castleisland. On a beautiful day over 3,000 people came to support the teams. The home side started well and at half time led the visitors by 1-5 to 0-4.
The second half saw Desmonds consolidate their lead and, with ten minutes to go, led Kilconly 2-10 to 0-6. From there to the final whistle was a nailbiting afair as the gallant Kilconly battled back and reduced the deficit to 2 points with 2 minutes to go. Desmonds replied with a last minute point to win the match by 3 points on a 2-11 to 1-11 scoreline and book a place in the final. Scenes of jubilation erupted on and off the pitch as the home side and their supporters savoured the win.
Match 3 - The Final
It was a cold, blustery night that the winner of Celebrity Bainisteoir 2010 would be decided at Parnell Park, Dublin on Friday the 29th October 2010. Castleisland Desmonds and Ballymun Kickhams, the last teams standing in the competition, were ready and eager to do battle.
Earlier that day, Celebrity Bainisteoir, Derek Burke, led Desmonds on the road to Dublin on a path well worn by generations of gaelic football teams from the Kingdom of Kerry down through the years, while Ballymun travelled the short distance for what was, in effect, a home match for them. It was impossible to set aside memories of epic Kerry versus Dublin matches of the past.
Both teams were well supported with thousands having travelled from Castleisland. Both Derek and his opposing bainisteoir, Mairead Farrell and both their teams appeared confident and eager as they paraded around the park behind the Athlone Ravens Marching Showband. After the national anthem, all was set and the referee threw in the ball shortly after 8pm.
Desmonds were first to settle and with a confident passing style worked the ball very well up the pitch and tucked it nicely over the bar for the game's opening score after 5 minutes. As Ballymun struggled to deal with the Kerry men, Desmonds continued to consolidate their lead with three further points without reply.
With both bainisteoiri urging their teams on, Kickhams began to settle and recorded their first point shortly afterwards. This signalled Ballymun's renewed intent as they fought their way back, scoring a goal and three points to Desmond's one point to lead 1-3 to 0-5 at half time, a margin of one point.
In the second half Ballymun started the stronger again and scored two more points. With the gap increasing, Castleisland regained some cohesion and scored three points to level the scores with 10 minutes to go. From there on it was nip and tuck as both sides fought for supremacy. Ballymun scored a point which was answered with a goal by Castleisland. Though marginally better at this stage, Castleisland were dealt a body blow when, with four minutes to go, they had a man sent off on a second yellow card, which was followed by a point from Ballymun. Lesser teams would have folded after such a blow, but it appeared to gel the Kerry men together as they fought to hold on to their slender lead for the remainder of the match.
When the referee blew the final whistle, after two minutes injury time, Castleisland were ahead by the smallest of margins and took the title by a single point on a 1-08 to 1-07 scoreline. Scenes of jubilation erupted as thousands of Desmond's fans invaded the pitch to congratulate and honour their heroes. The winning bainisteoir was shouldered high by his team and supporters as the exhilaration took hold.
A gutted Ballymun and their bainisteoir struggled with their single point defeat as they climbed the steps to accept their runners-up medals. To be fair to them they put up a great battle but ran out of time in a closely contested game. Gutted, as they were, they accepted their defeat and warmly congratulated Derek and Castleisland on their win - the mark of great sporting character that was evident all through, what was, a very sporting game. The same is true for their supporters, many of whom took the time to offer their congratulations to Derek and the team.
In contrast, celebrations were the order of the day as Derek and his gallant team accepted the winners cup to the sustained support of their thousands of fans. As news of the win flashed to the Kingdom, a dual celebration got underway in Castleisland as plans were laid to mark the team's return the following day.
Celebrity Bainisteoir 2010 has concluded with another Kerry team winning yet another All Ireland trophy. That that Kerry team was managed by a Cork man is probably the most unfamiliar aspect of this very familiar outcome which, no doubt, will entitle this young bainisteoir to dual citizenship of these neighbouring but fiercly rival gaelic football counties.
The people of Castleisland turned out in their thousands to welcome home their heroes
The Gradam Morghnimh Achievement Recognition Award
GRADAM MORGHNIMH ACHIEVEMENT REGOGNITION
Presented by the Chairperson and Members of the Killarney Electoral Area Committee to The Castleisland Desmonds Football Team and their Celebrity Bainisteoir, Derek Burke on winning the final of Celebrity Bainisteoir
Presentation from Castleisland Desmonds
Derek in Appreciation
of your dedication & attendance beyond the
call of duty. From Castleisland Desmonds
Bainisteoir Winners, and all the community
Derek photographed with the awards -
photo, Frank Morgan