Glentoran v Cliftonville: Brothers Bobby and Paddy Burns ready to do battle

Irish Premiership: Glentoran v Cliftonville

Venue: The Oval, Belfast Date: Tuesday, 6 February Kick-off: 19:45 GMT

Coverage: Live stream on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website with live text commentary and in-game clips

If you want an insight into how competitive the Burns brothers are, then this should do the trick.

A few years ago, Paddy just had the black ball to pot in a game of pool against older brother Bobby. He lined it up and the black flew into the pocket.

As he was celebrating, he didn't notice the white ball also disappearing off the table. It's safe to say that Bobby did.

Next thing, their mum, Therese, is looking out the kitchen window to see Paddy chasing after Bobby with one of the cues in the garden.

"I wasn't actually going to hit you," quipped Paddy, before Bobby, quick as a flash, retorted with "no surprises that you weren't able to catch me anyway".

All done with a laugh, we should add, as they reflected on their sibling rivalry.

Now, the brothers could face off against each other in a competitive match for the first time as Glentoran take on Cliftonville on Tuesday.

After stints with Hearts, Barrow and Newcastle Jets in Australia, Bobby, 24, has been with the Glens since 2020 while Paddy, on the other hand, has just returned to the Irish League with Cliftonville after four successful years with Notre Dame in College football in the USA.

Now they could be about to share the same pitch, but on opposing sides.

"We're still as competitive but we're a bit older now so I hope we don't start chasing each other with cues," Paddy, 23, laughed.

"We've played with each other a lot at St. Malachy's and different gaelic and football teams. It will be a lot of fun to play against you."

'A different type of pressure'

Bobby Burns has been an integral member of Glentoran's team
Bobby Burns has become an integral member of Glentoran's team

Paddy had previously played for Glenavon in the Irish Premiership before heading Stateside. When Cliftonville manager Jim Magilton, who had coached both Burns brothers in the past, came calling, he said it was a no-brainer to return to the club after coming through the academy at Solitude.

"Being in America, I've definitely missed the Irish League and missed the craic in the changing room," left-back Paddy added.

"It prepared me really well to go out to College. In terms of the level, it's just different. You don't have that feeling of playing with the older guys, so you can miss that in the games and the game management can be a bit different.

"In America they are very fit and very athletic. A lot of the colleges are recruiting players from all over the world who are hungry to earn professional contracts while working towards a degree."

After following a similar route in readjusting to Irish League football after his time in Australia came to an end, Bobby added there "is a different type of pressure" playing for Glentoran than Newcastle Jets.

"I knew how the Irish League was played and probably like in America, in Australia we played really good football. It was a different pressure.

"At times you almost felt like the fans would rather you lost by playing good football, while here it is very much a winning business and a priority on winning at all costs.

"Obviously that was a bit of an adjustment. I think the league has become a lot, lot better. I think Paddy might even be surprised in the four years he has been away, particularly the athleticism and the speed of some of the defenders."

'Not many hiding places'

Paddy admitted College football with Notre Dame, who he captained in his Senior year, was "a different changing room" as everyone was at the same level, compared to playing with senior players in the Irish League.

"If you had a go at someone they would have taken it a bit more sensitively than you would have liked them to.

"From my experience in the Irish League, you were afraid of making mistakes or losing a man on a set piece because you knew you would be crucified for it.

"It's very different over there. In America they are seen as educators before they are coaches, while here it is a business and a ruthless environment.

"I've missed that to a large extent, being under presser to deliver big results."

Bobby added: "You had a bit of a different upbringing to them, they didn't have Kris Lindsay or Andrew Doyle screaming at any misplaced passes.

"Even the eye of disapproval or glare from Sammy Clingan or Jonny Tuffey was enough, they didn't even have to say something."

Paddy Burns after a game for Notre Dame
Paddy Burns won the ACC Championship with Notre Dame and captained the team in his Senior year

Paddy added that he feels being reunited with former coach Magilton "will get the best out of me".

"There's not many hiding places for me with Jim. He's got Cliftonville playing really well right now and it's going to be fun to play under him. The sessions I have done so far have been brilliant.

"It feels great to be back and with the team doing so well there is a big buzz around the club.

"We're in a title race, which is fantastic given the resources Cliftonville have compared to other clubs, and we're still in the Irish Cup, so it's going to be a lot of fun.

"I'm excited to work hard and try and play in big games and help the team win as many games as possible."

The first one could be against his brother on Tuesday. Thankfully the pool cues will be packed well away.