The Burns clan is one of Kerry’s great sporting families

All-Ireland final hero Micheál Burns

The Celtic cross won by all-action impact substitute Micheál Burns in this year’s All-Ireland final was a prized addition to his 2014 minor medal but a little research conducted by a member of his Dr Crokes club reveals another historic link between the Burns family and great sporting successes.

In fact, the tough tackling Micheál is merely following in the great GAA tradition of his late paternal grandmother Joan Burns (née Lynch) who was a wonderful sportswoman in her own right.

That’s my girl: Siobhan Burns, Workmen’s Rowing Club, Killarney, embraces her father and trainer Mikey Joe Burns after a great gold medal win in a regatta. Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

As a young lady, Joan starred on the Kerry team that defeated Cork in the 1935 Munster camogie final which was played in Kenmare to mark the official opening of the Fr Breen Memorial Park.

That venue is now the home ground of Kenmare Shamrocks sharpshooter and Kerry captain on the final day Seanie O’Shea and his team-mate Stephen O’Brien.

A Workmen’s Rowing Club crew with Kerry footballer Micheál Burns’s dad, cox Mikey Joe Burns (left) and his mum Mary Moynihan (far right) competing at a regatta in Waterville.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

The Burns family, of course, is quite a formidable sporting force in its own right as Micheál’s sister, Siobhán, was a prominent player with Dr Crokes and the Kerry ladies and a talented oarswoman until a long-term injury hindered her progress.

His parents, Mikey Joe and Mary, meanwhile, are legends in the sport of rowing having accumulated so many titles, local, provincial and national, with the Workmen’s Club in Killarney.

In another link with great sporting achievements, Micheál’s first cousin is none other than Dara Moynihan who is also a key part of the Kerry All-Ireland winning team of 2022 and is another all-Ireland minor championship and Hogan Cup winning footballer.

Micheál’s great All-Ireland achievement is not just being celebrated in Killarney – where he lives – but also in his father’s native Sneem where the hard-running, gritty wing forward spent much of his childhood.

The 1935 Munster camogie medal won by Micheal’s grandmother Joan Burns (née Lynch)

Former Kerry and Dr Crokes star Eamonn Fitzgerald, another with dual Killarney and Sneem connections, said Micheal’s dad, Mikey Joe, continues the family business of renting and servicing bicycles and other light engineering projects in village’s North Square which is a family tradition started by his late father Micksie Burns.

“Micheál Burns spent all of his youthful summers in Sneem and was very prominent in the summer juvenile games at Sneem Sportsfield,” Eamonn recalled.

In another notable Sneem-Dr Crokes connection, he noted that when Micheál was named man-of-the-match in the 2014 All-Ireland final, the Kerry senior team that won Sam Maguire that day was captained by Fionn Fitzgerald of Dr Crokes, son of Micheál ‘Moss’ Fitzgerald, formerly from Seaview, Sneem, and Eamonn’s brother.

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