FOOTBALL: Heart scare striker Burns makes step into management

Ronnie Burns in action for Ballynure Old Boys against Brantwood.
Ronnie Burns in action for Ballynure Old Boys against Brantwood.

Former Ballyclare Comrades striker Ronnie Burns has accepted the role of reserve team boss with the Dixon Park club.

Last month the 31-year-old was told by a cardiologist to quit football because of a thickening of one of his heart valves.

Doctors discovered a heart murmur when he was in for surgery on a torn ligament in his hip in early July. It came just weeks after Burns helped Ballynure Old Boys secure a memorable treble.

“(It’s) amazing how quickly opportunities can come about,” he wrote on Facebook. “After speaking to all the Ballynure lads first, I’m pleased to confirm I’ve accepted the role of Ballyclare Comrades reserve team manager.”

He succeeds Stephen Hughes, who the Times understands will take up a coaching role with Ballyclare’s first-team.

“I’m really excited at the prospect of coaching a very talented bunch of lads and hopefully seeing them progress into first-team football,” Burns added.

“I want to wish all the Ballynure lads the very best for the season, it really is an amazing football club with great people throughout. A new chapter starts at Dixon Park on Saturday, just as it did all those years ago.”

In a recent interview with the Times, Burns said: “Coaching is always something I’ve wanted to do. I’ve travelled to America for the last six or seven years every summer to coach kids. It’s been a great experience.

“My plan has always been to get into the Irish League and coach there. As much as I love Ballynure, I want to push myself go to the highest level I can.

“If that means coaching in the Irish League at some stage then that’s something I definitely want to do.”

Burns makes his managerial debut this weekend as the Wee Reds, who play in the Ballymena and Provincial League’s Junior Division 1, entertain Carrick side Woodlands.