TCG'S Burke is Honoured
By Damian Dolan
Paddy Burke’s 45 years of dedication to Tir Chonaill Gaels were deservedly recognised at Croke Park last Friday evening, with Burke the recipient of the International President’s Award from GAA President Liam O’Neill.
The Tir Chonaill Gaels President was among 15 award winners honoured at a special banquet broadcast live on TG4, for their outstanding commitment and long service across the club and county network and whose highly valued contribution is seldom recognised nationally.
Having served the club as a player and manager - with no little success - Burke brought his influence to bear on two key projects, namely the formation of an underage section and the acquisition of a permanent home for the club.
“It’s a big honour, and even getting to Croke Park and meeting all of those dignitaries,” said Burke, who left Donegal for the UK when he was 16 in 1966, before finding his way to London three years later.
He initially joined Sean McDermotts - mainly a hurling club at the time - but when they folded a few months later he headed to Tir Chonail Gaels.
Describing himself as a ‘bad player’, Burke’s talents lay elsewhere and during the ensuing 45 years he’s served the club in every position possible. Most notably, though, he managed the club to its first-ever senior football championship title in 1983 before starting its successful minor board in the late 1980s.
Now 65 years of age, and in his second year as club president, Burke can reflect on nearly five decades of building Tir Chonaill Gales in to one the strongest club’s on the London GAA scene, with 14 senior championship titles to their name, and copious numbers of other cups.
“It means an awful lot, it means everything. You live and die for the club. You’re so proud when you win the championship, like any club,” said Burke, whose underage work also extended to London and managing the county’s U-16, U-18 and U-21 teams, as well as serving as you officer.