Lockdown Digest: Down goalkeeper Rory Burns: Cycling, petrified of heights and superstitions

Rory Burns talks lockdown with Brendan Crossan
Rory Burns talks lockdown with Brendan Crossan Rory Burns talks lockdown with Brendan Crossan

Name: Rory Burns (Buba)

County: Down

Club: Castlewellan GAC

Your lockdown routine: Rise about 9.30 and after that it is unknown. It could consist of going for walks in Castlewellan Forest park socially distancing with the lads or cycling around the county. I have been trying to get sub 20 minutes in a 5km run, still trying. Completed the shows Our Girl (Michelle Keegan), Normal People, The Last Dance, rightly through Grey’s Anatomy and currently watching Love/Hate for the third time.

Best thing about the lockdown: Getting to see parts of the county I probably would never have seen before and taking up my new sport of cycling.

Worst thing about the lockdown: Not knowing for so long when we were going to get some sort of normality back in our lives

Favourite training drill: Anything that involves only shooting for goals. Keeps us goalkeepers on our toes.

Least favourite training drill: Few of them to be honest: Joe Cassidy (goalkeeping coach) can have you doubting why you play but least favourite without doubt is running in the sand dunes with Mark Doran.

If you didn’t play Gaelic football which sport would you be playing: Soccer. I never really got giving it a proper go with GAA commitments.

Five dinner guests and reasons why you’d invite them: Michelle Keegan because of her accent; Kevin Duffin because he has been my cycling buddy over lockdown; Natalie McKibbin because I couldn’t listen to her if Michelle was there and she wasn’t; Virgil Van Dijk because he will be a Premier League winner by then; Micheal Cunningham for his sing-songs and getting the craic going, absolute banter merchant.

Best sporting memory: Probably winning back-to-back Leagues with my club (2017/18). Very special winning something with your mates you grew up with.

Worst sporting memory: Definitely that long walk to the sideline after receiving that black card against Armagh in the Ulster SFC.

Best sick-note excuse: I’ve had a few of them too but I found out taking Castlewellan senior ladies last year that it takes a week to get ready for a wedding.

Favourite film: Remember The Titans

Tell us something we don’t know about you: I’m absolutely petrified of heights.

Toughest opponent: Club: Conor Maginn (Bryansford); County: Shane McGuigan (Derry)

Fastest team-mate: Club: Gareth McKibben County: Close one but Caolan Mooney just wins

Favourite GAA player: Seán Óg Ó hAilpín (Cork)

Guilty pleasure: Piccolo Pizza, Newcastle, easily the nicest pizza in the country

Best pitch you played on: Pairc Uí Chaoimh

Ideal day off: Have no jobs to do around home, go for a morning walk, grab some breakfast (porridge and berries) and a Railway Street coffee. Back up the house for the ‘live’ football (Liverpool or any GAA match), probably another evening walk, then head out for dinner to the Maghera Inn for a steak with Natalie paying.

Any match-day superstitions: Wrists taped under gloves, never wear new boots, and left boot on first.

Most annoying team-mate: Club: Eoin Maginn - very chirpy; County: Donal O’Hare - always trying to wind me up, usually very successful at it.


Socially Distant week…

PEP Guardiola’s powerful post-match interview after their 3-0 win over Arsenal on Wednesday night probably took the spotlight away from David Luiz’s woeful defending. A big supporter of Catalan independence, Pep’s social conscience stretches beyond domestic issues in Spain. In answer to the Black Lives Matter campaign, Guardiola couldn’t have been more forthright.

"White people,” he said, “should apologise for the way we treated black people in the last 400 years. I feel ashamed for what we have done for black people around the world, not just America, the problem is everywhere."


NIFL’S clever strategy to resolve how to end the Danske Irish Premiership campaign has become apparent in recent days. They kept calling Zoom meetings until club reps were completely Zoomed out.

At the last count, NIFL held 63 Zoom meetings in just five days. It appears the insults have dried up and the popcorn boxes are empty as the clubs edge closer to an agreement – not through principle but because of their soaring broadband bills.


WITH only some bookmakers’ shops opened, it was probably not great timing for punters that the Irish News Yankee came up trumps on Wednesday, all at Ascot. Stradivarius (3.35), Khaloosy (4.10), Molatham (2.25) and Highland Chief (1.15) landed combined odds of 1351/1.


THE ‘Hairless for the Hospice’ campaign, the brainchild of Chris Boyd of Boyd’s Menswear in Newry, certainly took off thanks to several high-profile GAA and soccer personalities getting involved.

Down footballers Kevin McKernan and Ryan McAleenan helped get the ball rolling with Newry City manager Darren Mullen and former Justin McNulty also shaving their heads for a worthy cause. Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney also went hairless for the hospice and earlier this week the 2002 All-Ireland winning captain and Maura McGeeney presented a cheque to the southern area hospice for over £32,000 earlier this week. Maith thú.


ON its first night back after lockdown, VAR made an absolute Horlicks in the Aston Villa-Sheffield United clash that finished scoreless.

Sheffield United thought they’d opened the scoring when Villa ‘keeper Orjan Nyland carried Oliver Norwood’s looping free-kick over the goal-line.

But referee Michael Oliver had no communication with the Hawk-Eye operator, who apologised for the error but said the system “remained functional throughout”.

Every supporter in Villa Park could tell the ball had crossed the line. The travelling 4,000 Sheffield United fans went ballistic at VAR’s mistake. It all kicked off in the stands.


IMAGINE you are the community firefighter in your area and you’re called out to an arson attack on your own GAA club. That’s the position Naomh Séamas, Aldergrove senior footballer James Trowlen found himself in last weekend when a wheelie bin was set alight against the club shop.

Trowlen and his colleagues prevented further damage to the club’s facilities. An estimated £5,000 worth of damage was caused by the attack.

“We will not be deterred from providing Gaelic Games for our community,” a club statement read.

Quote of the week…

“During this pandemic, people are existing on a knife’s edge: one missed bill is having a spiral effect, the anxiety and stress of knowing that poverty is the main driver of children ending up in care, a system that is designed to fail low-income families. Do you know how much courage it takes for a grown man to say: ‘I can’t cope’ or ‘I can’t support my family’? - Marcus Rashford’s open letter to parliament successfully reversed the government’s policy to cancel free school meals for children in Britain during the summer holidays.