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Florrie Burke

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Blackrock Online... People of Distinction... SPORT... Soccer Category

Florrie Burke of Ballintemple: Household Name In League of Ireland Soccer for two decades

Florrie came from Ballintemple and played with Cork United, Cork Athletic and Evergreen. Those sides were amongst the great teams of that particular era and Florrie won medals with all three clubs playing a starring role. The Ballintemple resident first attracted the attention of talent spotters, when as a 15 year old in 1936, he helped Rockwell to a shock 2 – 1 win over Home Farm in the F.A.I. Minor Cup.

However the Bandon Road based Rockwell were found to have played over age players and Home Farm became finalists at the expense of Rockwell. In his youthful years, Florrie evaded the the G.A.A. ban barring gaelic games players from playing soccer and during his time wearing the famed green/gold jersey, he was one of the Rockies bright young guns with the potential to become a Cork inter county hurler.

However soccer became his No.1 sport and his conviction was proved correct, as went on to carve out a magnificent career in the beautiful game and was considered the best centre half in Ireland, playing League of Ireland football. Even though he never plied his trade in England, the famous Everton FC of Merseyside, attempted to lure him in the early 1950's with a signing on fee of £2,000, a hefty sum in that era.

Florrie declined their offer, preferring to work at the Fords Cork plant on the Marina and play his soccer locally. However when he did terminate his League of Ireland career, he exiled to Dagenham, worked with Fords once again and played non league football with a local team. Once again success flowed as the club won their own regional league title.

The formative years of Florrie’s soccer life were with Rockwell at minor and junior grades in the mid 1930’s, before he transferred his allegiance to his home soil and Blackrock Rovers. With Rovers he was a vital player when the club won the Munster Junior League in season 1940/41.

After the junior title success with Blackrock Rovers, his next move was to Cork United and here he made a huge impact taking custody of the No.8 shirt. United won their second League Championship title in 1942 with Florrie a major player. At League of Ireland level he won a further five Championship medals, three with United, before they were succeeded by Cork Athletic.

A vital move with United and Athletic saw Florrie wearing the No.5 jersey with great distinction and Cork Athletic bestowed the honour of captaincy on Florrie, when the club won two League of Ireland titles in 1950 and 1951. Cork Athletic were a major force in the 1950’s and also won the F.A.I. Cup, with the Ballintemple native as captain and winning his second cup medal. Wearing Evergreen United colours, after a fractous transfer from Cork Athletic by means of a clerical error by Athletic, he represented Evergreen in an all Cork F.A.I. Cup final, won by Athletic after a replay. Cork Athletic had the famous Raich Carter in their team at that time.

An item of interest to Blackrock Online soccer fans is the statistic, that the legendary Florrie Burke was on the famed Blackrock Rovers team that lost to Cork United in the 1945 Munster Senior Cup final, but United needed a replay to claim the title. The Ballintemple born legend also captained a League of Ireland national team and he won one international cap v West Germany, claiming the prestigous Man of the Match Award.

On retirement Florrie took up residence in a small Welsh town, between Cardiff and Swansea, called Kenfig, and at the age of 77, he passed away in 1995 in his adopted home town and is buried in the local cemetery ,far away from his natactive Ballintemple.unday

Extract from 1953 FAI Cup Final Programme at Dalymount Park, Dublin, Sunday April 26th 1953:

Florrie Burke:  One of the greatest centre halves this country has ever known. He has won every honour of the game and was on the Cork United team that lost to Dundalk way back in ’42. Florrie is in a remarkable position today as he is a retained League player of Cork Athletic but has lined out with Evegreen in the Cup. He was on the Cork Cup final team last year.

Tribute by Michael Casey @ Blackrock Online

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