Northern Ireland news

Hundreds pay last respects at funeral of Down GAA 'legend' Eamonn Burns

The funeral cortege of Eamonn Burns.Pic Philip Walsh.
Mairead Holland

MOURNERS turned out in their hundreds on Saturday to pay their final respects to former Down GAA player and manager Eamonn Burns.

Mr Burns, who was 56, died suddenly on Wednesday following a heart attack.

The father-of-two helped his county win two All Ireland titles in 1991 and 1994 and managed the team for three years before stepping down last summer.

Local GAA teams lined the route as Mr Burns' remains were taken from his brother Colm's house for Requiem Mass in the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption.

Burial took place in St Patrick's Cemetery, Bryansford.

Pete McGrath, a former Down manager, Conor Deegan, Down under-20s manager and Sean Og McAteer, secretary of Down GAA were among the mourners.

Among the many tributes to Mr Burns was one from GAA president John Horan who said he had left "a great legacy in the game".

"On and off the field he was a great ambassador for our association and we join our Mourne County colleagues and Gaels in lamenting his loss,” he said.

Former Down manager Eamonn Burns

His club, Bryansford GAC, where flags were flown at half mast, described him as "a true legend of both club and county".

Down GAA said he was a "true son of Down". They said: "Eamonn has been taken from us too soon, we will miss you Eamonn but we will smile in the memory of the days that you gave us.".

Brendan Crossan: Down legend Eamonn Burns - the 'professor of brevity' and a good man

Mr Burns was a teacher at Shimna Integrated College in the town. On its Facebook page, the school said tributes had been pouring in since his death and shared one from Laura Mae O'Neile, a former pupil and staff member.

The family of the late Eamonn Burns attend his funeral. Picture by Philip Walsh

She said: “He (Eamonn) will probably be remembered by many as the Down All Ireland winner and manager, but to many of us Shimna students he will fondly be remembered as Mr Burns, the technology teacher.

" I can safely say I would not be in the career I am in today if it wasn’t for Eamonn. I teach technology and design because I wanted to be like Mr Burns. He always made you feel valued and pushed you to do your best."

Mr Burns is survived by his wife Sinead, sons Cathal and Thomas, brothers Colm and Malachy, sister Mary and family circle.

Ex-Down manager Pete McGrath at the funeral of the late Eamonn Burns. Pic Philip Walsh

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