Blast from the Past: William Burns

Part 1: William Burns played for Sligo Rovers during the 1955-56 Season making 16 appearances for the Bit O’Red. On Saturday evening at our 90th Birthday Celebrations in The Showgrounds he will represent the 3rd Decade of the club’s history (1948-1958). We will be sharing the stories of the other players who will be sharing the pitch with him throughout the week.

William (Billy) is originally from Newtonards, Co. Down and one of four sons of the Irish international footballer, William ‘Tosher’ Burns.

Billy played nearly a full season for Sligo Rovers between 1955 and 1956.
Before that he played for Ards in Northern Ireland. During a match against Distillery in Belfast, he was approached by a Sligo man who was working for Short Belfast, an aircraft company.

He told William that he’d be just the man for Sligo Rovers and asked him if he’d be interested in playing for them. So William moved to Sligo and played right half during his time with the Rovers. He said his first match was against the Bray Wanderers and his last match was against Cork during which he bust his ankle and couldn’t play any more.

But while he was here in Sligo, he met Geraldine O’Rorke and the two married (62 years this December), moved back to Northern Ireland and had four children.

His eldest, Julie Fox, and her husband and three kids moved to Sligo in 2001 and soon after, William and Geraldine followed suit, moving back to Geraldine’s home in Carrowmore.

They’ve been living here ever since and the rest of their children have gone on to have kids of their own. Their five grandsons share William’s enthusiasm for football and one of them in particular is a big Rovers fan. His two granddaughters unfortunately have no talent in sport but they enjoy listening to his stories, including the ones about Sligo Rovers!

Written by Erin Fox, his grand daughter who will be joining him on Saturday night in The Showgrounds)

There is an open invitation to any former players to be our guest at the game against Bray on Saturday evening along with a guest. Please enter your details below and we will be in touch with details on your tickets for the game.