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ST PATRICKS ATHLETIC

BURNS SAINTS SHINING NEW STAR

St Patrick’s Athletic exciting young winger Darragh Burns might not have had such a quick introduction to top level League of Ireland football if he had decided to continue his studies after gaining good grades in his Leaving Cert.

The Stamullen native did consider going to Maynooth University but the opportunity to continue his promising football career as a full time professional with St Pat’s changed his plans.

By John Hudson

“I did well in the Leaving, got good grades and I thought about going to college. My Mam was very anxious that I should go but we decided to park that for the moment.

“I know in the League of Ireland you can have a short career so going back to college is something I want to do, maybe when I’m 23 or 24 I might go back and do some course.”  

Burns had made his first team debut as a 16-year-old for St Pats against Chelsea in a friendly at Richmond Park in July 2019 but had to wait till the 2020 season for his first League of Ireland appearance.   

He really established himself last season with 30 appearances in league and cup scoring seven goals and winning an FAI Cup medal.   

The Saints who sit third in the table nine points behind Derry City and trailing the Hoops by three, travel to Tallaght this Friday night (8.0), hoping to repeat their early season 1-0 victory over the reigning champions in a pulsating game at Richmond Park where Chris Forrester fired home a spectacular 55th minute winner.

Burns has started the season impressively, hitting two goals, and two assists in the opening nine games and is looking forward to another big test in Tallaght.

“I can remember how sore my legs were after the last game against them at Richmond because we worked so hard. The boys put in a shift that night and Chris Forrester got the goal, it was a massive win for us and first time to beat them in a while so hopefully more of the same on Friday.”

Burns also pays tribute to the advice and encouragement he receives from skipper Forrester.

“Chris is very good. He sees a lot of you when you’re training and playing with him every day and he’ll never let me drop my standards, always on my back but in a good way and I know I’ve still a lot to learn.”  

After his performances last season Burns admits the challenges he is facing this season have been hard.

“Yeh teams have been doubling up and even trebling up on me but I’m enjoying it. I take it as a compliment to the way I’m playing. I try to play every game with a smile on my face and go out and enjoy it.”

Burns started out with the Shelbourne Academy as a six-year-old and progressed to St Kevin’s Boys before joining St Pats Academy and featuring on their title winning Under 17 and Under 19 National League sides in 2019 and the following year.

His rapid rise through the ranks is testimony to the good work that goes on with the hugely successful St Pats Academy sides led by Academy Director Ger O’Brien.

Burns is still in dreamland after becoming part of the first team squad so quickly.

“It’s great that you can come through the Academy sides and really sometimes I can’t believe it’s happened. But everyone needs a break whether it’s in football or other aspects of life, so I feel really lucky.”

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