Tributes paid to a “fanatical GAA person”

Longford man and Leinster GAA Council Chairperson Martin Skelly described watching Bobby Burns as “a privilege” and says he will remember the former Longford GAA star as a “fanatical GAA person.”

Mr Skelly, a native of Newtowncashel, also chronicles the day that Longford captured the ‘Home’ National League Football title at Croke Park in 1966 as one of the great memories of his childhood.

Speaking to the Leader last week, Martin commented: “Any time the history of Longford GAA and all the great players we had are mentioned, Bobby is top of that list.

“His fantastic performances for Longford and of course Granard brought him to the attention of the Railway Cup selectors and he stood proudly alongside such names as Mickey Whelan and the Foley brothers from Dublin in that team in 1964.”

Mr Skelly attended the famous victory over Galway in which Burns kicked eight of Longford’s nine points as they overcame Galway’s famous three-in-a-row side of 1964, ‘65 and ‘66.

“It was a privilege to be at that game,” Martin said.

“It was great time for Leinster football around that period and Longford were one of the best sides in the province. I remember Bobby kicked the ninth point from a free and we held on for the last ten minutes. I still have an image of the kick that I cut out of the paper the following day kept in a scrapbook.”

Martin also paid tribute to Bobby’s style of play and his predatory instinct in front of the posts. “He had an uncanny accuracy from a dead ball and was also deceptively fast for a man with his imposing frame.”

Despite ill health in later life, Bobby made sure he attended Longford GAA events of all kinds.

Martin remembers: “Even in recent years he never missed a Longford game and would attend regardless. He was a fanatical GAA man, always talking about the game he loved morning, noon and night.”

Mr Skelly also passed on his condolences to Bobby’s family and his partner Helen and concluded by saying: “This is a massive loss to his family and to Granard, both St Mary’s and the town and of course to Longford GAA.”


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