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Mum's the word as the Burns girls lead Rainey charge

By John Flack

Rainey midfielder Rachel Burns is just like most teenagers in that she respects her mother and takes heed of any advice that comes her way most of the time - but their relationship is somewhat different from the norm on the hockey pitch.

On Saturdays during the season, the roles are reversed and it's mum Carolyn's turn to listen to instructions from her daughter as she continues to roll back the years at the age of 55.

Ireland U18 player Rachel is the captain of the Rainey team currently riding high in Senior One and has a chance of making it to the top flight this season.

But the talented teenager says she doesn't mind handing out orders to her mother for 70 minutes a week during hockey.

"I do have to call her into position from time to time but I'm used to it now and it's just part of the game," explained the 17-year-old midfielder.

"I usually call her 'mum' on the pitch without thinking and then I correct myself and use her name if she doesn't respond!"

Carolyn may be the oldest player lining out in senior hockey and enjoyed considerable success as a Randalstown striker in years gone by - she helped them lift five all-Ireland titles, won three Irish caps and also played in Europe at indoor and outdoor level.

As fate would have it, Rainey have been drawn to face Carolyn's former club in the President's Cup, and she is looking forward to renewing some old acquaintances, nine years after she last wore Town's colours.

This time though she will have plenty of family support on the pitch as Rachel's younger sister Alex (15), who has represented Ulster at U16 level, in also part of the youthful Rainey squad.

"I am told if you take me out, the average age is about 17 and I am 32 years older than anyone else in the squad which contains 10 schoolgirls," said Carolyn, who is head of PE at Rainey Endowed and teaches both of her daughters.

"I am looking forward to playing Randalstown where I made so many friends and had so many happy memories."

Meanwhile, Ireland are in New Zealand for the Hawke's Bay Cup tournament - they begin on Saturday against China and also face India and New Zealand with Australia, Korea, Japan and Canada in the other pool.

Finally, Queen's II attempt to complete a league and cup double on Sunday when they take on Loreto II in the Irish Junior Cup final at Belfield.

Belfast Telegraph


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