Burns bows out on a high after St Gall’s triumph
Only Sean Burns could manage to bring down the curtain of a fabulous career on the biggest stage of all.
A St Gall’s legend, he revealed last night that he’s hanging up the boots, content and happy in the knowledge that the future of the club is in safe hands after the Falls Road side became All Ireland club champions.
What made it all so special for the 38-year-old joiner was that he actually got to play the last 1o minutes.
“That’s me finished with senior football, but it’s a wonderful note to go out on, playing and winning in Croke Park on St.Patrick’s Day,” said Burns.
“It’s getting harder now with all the young ones coming through and there’s no point someone like me holding them back.
“Sometimes the young ones needed a wee push, like the odd occasion when I would run past them.”
Burns could never have imagined how successful a career he would enjoy with his club.
Ten Antrim championship medals, two Ulster club and an All Ireland sevens is a tribute to both his ability and staying power.
Sean Burns’ father John was an outstanding full back with Antrim in the 60s and 70s and has been very supportive of the younger Burns.
“He pushed me on more than anyone and he took a genuine interest in my career, watching me play and then offering my genuine advice and encouragement,” said Sean.
Two days after St. Galls managed to get their hands on the Andy Merrigan Cup, Burns is still trying to come to terms with his new status.
“I was 17 when I came to St. Galls and it improved me both as a player and a person, but it’s still hard to believe that I’m sitting here in the living room with an All Ireland medal,” he said.
“Every other St.Patrick’s Day we seemed to be sitting watching Crossmaglen, Kilmacud and St. Vincent’s lifting the cup.
“From my perspective it’s been a brilliant achievement. Not so long ago Antrim and Antrim club were regarded as soft touches, but all that has changed.”
Four years ago when the Falls Road side lost the final by a point Burns was devastated, never thinking he would still be around when history was made.
“I had to stay fit to keep up with Sean Kelly and Terry O’Neill, but all the training was worthwhile and getting on the pitch for the last 10 minutes made it all worthwhile,” added Sean.
St. Galls manager Lenny Harbinson said: “It’s been a long hard slog for Sean, but he's always been there driving us all on.”