FRIENDLY RIVALRY Galway ladies footballer, Sinéad Burke (left) and Dublin footballer Rachel Ruddy, whose fathers Pat and Vivian are Achill natives, will be competing in the All-Ireland ladies football final this Sunday
Former Achill footballers Vivian Ruddy and Pat Burke may have soldiered together for many years on the football field but this Sunday they will be opposing corners as their daughters, Rachel and Sinéad, will take centre stage in Croke Park in the quest for All-Ireland glory.
Vivian’s daughter Rachel Ruddy has been a stalwart of the Dublin defence for a decade and will be hoping to win her third All-Ireland medal, while Pat’s daughter, Sinéad will be playing in her first All-Ireland final for Galway.
“I have known Pat for many years and played football with him for Achill and Kildownet in the Scanlon Cup so this Sunday will be very interesting for both of us,” Vivian, a native of Derreens told The Mayo News. “We were all in Croke Park for the semi-finals when Dublin beat Cork and Galway beat Mayo and we are looking forward to this Sunday’s final. There will be a good crowd from Achill coming up supporting both girls so hopefully we will meet up before the game. Regardless of the result it will be a great occasion for Achill and Kildownet.”
A native of Dooega, Pat was a star footballer for Achill for many years and played for the Mayo minors in the 1976 championship. The two men won a Mayo Junior Championship medal for Achill in 1983 before they left their home club after getting teaching jobs in Galway and Dublin.
Pat transferred to the Oughterard club where he now lives while Vivian transferred to Ballyboden Wanderers. While in Oughterard, Pat won two Intermediate Galway titles while Vivian won a Dublin Junior Championship.
Both men are staunch supporters of the Mayo men’s football side, following the team around the country, but they both admit that their daughters come first when it comes to the ladies game.
Pat, told The Mayo News that they were looking forward to the final and the fact that Vivian’s daughter was playing for Dublin made the game extra special.
“The last couple of weeks has been great as we all look forward to an All-Ireland final which is something special. I have known Vivian for years so there will be a bit of slagging before the final but it will a great occasion for all connected.
“It will be a proud moment watching your daughter play in the final in Croke Park. My wife Mary [nee Grealis, and a native of Dooniver in Achill] gets more nervous during the game while I try to stay more relaxed. Sinéad is looking forward to the game and hopefully she will have a good game,” he explained.
Rachel currently plays for Ballyboden St Endas which by coincidence is the club Sinéad joined from her home club, Killannin, after moving to Dublin, where she works as a teacher. While Sinéad has eight senior Connacht titles to her name and was named an All-Star last year, the semi-final victory over Mayo was the first time she played in Croke Park.
Rachel who is a two-time All-Star won her first All-Ireland medal in 2010 but had to wait another seven years to claim her second. She missed out on last year’s victory after deciding to go travelling but returned this year as the Dubs look for three-in-a-row. However, her season has been hampered after injuring her hamstring in July and must prove her fitness to Dublin boss Mick Bohan to make the starting 15.