GAA players who fought in the Easter Rising

Dublin fans Paul Cahill and Conor Murphy have produced two videos in a mini series for Dublin GAA, looking at people who fought in the 1916 Easter Rising, and were also Dublin GAA players. Each video is narrated by Sunday Game presenter, Des Cahill.

By Irish Examiner Staff


The first installment looks at the extraordinary life of Frank Burke. Frank entered the GPO with Padraig Pearse, having studied under him at St. Enda’s school in Rathfarnham. After the Rising, Frank went on to become one of Dublin’s greatest ever GAA stars, winning two All-Ireland senior Hurling medals, and three senior football medals.


During the infamous Bloody Sunday game, Frank was being marked by Tipperary’s Michael Hogan, who was shot dead by British forces.


This is the incredible story of Frank Burke.


Although relatively unknown, Frank Burke was an exceptional athlete, who could potentially walk into anyone’s selection for greatest Dublin team of all time. What you might not also know is that he spent Easter 1916 on the roof of the GPO. Crouched behind the scattered homemade barricades for almost 72 hours he proudly defended the flag of the Republic as his city, Dublin, burned around him. After some time spent in a Welsh prison camp, he finally arrived back in Ireland only to become a duel All Ireland champion with the Dublin football team and the hurling team, an extraordinary feat! As the War of Independence flared forward he once again faced gun-fire and smoke…this time while wearing the blue jersey of Dublin in Croke Park… 


And it’s not just modern female athletes who are tough…. Meet Tilly Simpson.


There has been much talk about the role of GAA men during the Rising, but this is just one extraordinary story of a women who played a vital role during the war of independence.


Tilly Simpson was a Camogie player and a revolutionary who fought for her community and her country. As a member of Cumann na mBan, Tilly performed nursing duties in the GPO during the Easter Rising.

Soon after, Tilly, along with her Cumann na mBan comrades would find themselves on the front line.



With thanks to Paul Cahill and Conor Murphy for bringing these stories to a wider audience.

The IRA at War
The War Escalates: Bloody Sunday, Kilmichael and November 1920

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