Still work to do for city GAA - Burns

ONE OF Derry’s 1993 All Ireland winning panel has praised the resurgence of Gaelic Games in Derry City but stressed more work needs to be done.

Michael Wilson reports

St. Columb’s College teacher Eamon Burns leads his team into Monday’s MacLarnon Cup Final in Armagh (throw-in, 11.00am) against St. Paul’s, Bessbrook seeking only the third success in the College’s history.

Burns was introduced as a substitute in the Oak Leaf county’s historic ‘93 defeat of Cork in Croke Park and the former Ballinascreen star revealed even then, the players were considering how to make inroads into the traditional soccer heartland

“I remember back to 1993, when we won Sam Maguire. Afterwards the players had a meeting where we discussed things among ourselves and one of the main things we wanted to target was Derry City,” explained Burns.

“That’s 19 years ago now and it is a slow process to get things going but we are on the right path and we are certainly doing our best in the College.

“I have seen quite a lot of change within Derry City since I came to the College. Steelstown have made tremendous progress and Pearses have also sprung up in my time. Hopefully Doire Colmcille will get back on track once they have their new ground, the lack of that has been a major hindrance to them.

“There are certainly good efforts being made but it is going to be a long road.”

Burns said he was hoping MacLarnon success for the College would see more youngsters playing gaelic games.

“It is always an uphill battle to push Gaelic Games in the city. I have been here 14 years and in that time we have raised the profile a bit. Certainly the club profile is better now than when I arrived.

“I think there has been progress too in terms of the Schools but it is important to every now and again bring a trophy in to give a boost and show it is not all about soccer teams. There is a great tradition of GAA here at St. Columb’s and winning trophies helps that,” he added.