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Obituary: Little Flower lacrosse coach Abigail ‘Abby’ O’Beirne touched the lives of players

Sunday, 4th November 2012

Categories Girl's/Women's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 11/4/12

Abigail “Abby” O’Beirne

Little Flower senior Courtney Burke said her lacrosse coach at Little Flower, Abigail “Abby” O’Beirne, was a great leader, role model and teacher.

“Little Flower hasn’t had a strong lacrosse program, but as soon as Abby came she really helped improve everyone’s skills,” said Burke. “We really showed improvement. Even coaches from other teams would say so. We were finally working together as a team; she brought us together.

“She really took us back to basics and paid special attention to everyone. She would pinpoint our weaknesses and try to improve each player individually. She was always positive and she told us, no matter what our record was, to keep our heads up and give 110 percent.”

Miss O’Beirne, 27, of Philadelphia, was killed in a one-car accident Wednesday afternoon off Rt. 309 in Hilltown Township, Bucks County. She was the coach at Little Flower for two years and earned the admiration of her players and fellow coaches in the Catholic League.

“She took a program that was floundering at Little Flower and helped it grow,” said St. Hubert coach Tim Burke, Courtney Burke’s uncle. “She had a great sideline demeanor – she was an awesome teacher, not a screamer or hollerer.

“She got it at a very young age. Her girls are devastated. When you lose your coach, it’s like losing a member of the family. She was really a (role model). It’s a great loss to these girls.”

Visitation for Miss O’Beirne will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Holy Innocents Church, “L” St. and Hunting Park Ave., Phila., PA, 19124. Funeral Mass will be held there, with interment to follow in Resurrection Cemetery, Bensalem.

Miss O’Beirne was the loving daughter of David and Gail O’Beirne (nee Kenney), the loving sister of David, Sean (Fallon), Kevin, Lily and the late Edward O’Beirnem and the beloved fiance of Andrew Miller. She is also survived by aunts, uncles and many cousins.

O’Beirne, a graduate of Mount St. Joseph, played four years of lacrosse at Mt. St. Mary’s University and began her coaching career at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre where she earned a masters degree. She was a teacher for students with special needs in grades 1 through 6 at Holy Innocents School in the Juniata Park section of Philadelphia. She was to be married in January.

“She made a tremendous difference with the team and touched many lives in a short time,” said Archbishop Carroll coach Lorraine Beers, who coached against Miss O’Beirne in the Catholic League. “She will be missed.”

Courtney Burke, who plans to play Division II college lacrosse, credited Miss O’Beirne for pushing her to excel. Burke earned Third Team All-Catholic League in 2012 and said her coach worked even harder to prepare her for college lacrosse.

“She had known lacrosse was a big part of my life,” said Burke. “She knew that I really wanted to play in college so she did whatever I needed. Whether it was calling coaches or looking up schools for me, she would support me.

“She was a person who always had a smile on her face; she never let us put our heads down. She would joke around with us. She was so personable and fun and she made the smallest drills just so fun. We were always laughing. She just made the season so memorable.”

Burke said one of her teammates learned of the accident first and made the call to inform her of the tragic news.

“One of the other girls on the lacrosse team found out and called me right away; she knew I was the closest to her,” Burke said. “Then on Friday in school we held a prayer service for her.”
Burke said the players will dedicate the 2013 season to their coach.

“We actually talked about this the other day,” said Burke. “We need to keep pushing. All Abby ever wanted for us was to do our best and make it as far as we possibly could. We want to be as strong as we can and continue improving our skills.

“We all need to work as hard as we can and dedicate every game to her. She was such a big reason for our success.

“I’m just going to remember how vibrant she was. I am always really hard on myself and she was the person to tell me to relax and keep smiling.”

Donations in memory of Abigail Ann O’Beirne may be made to Holy Innocents School, 1312 E. Bristol St., Phila., PA 19124 or Little Flower H.S. for Girls Scholarship Fund, 1000 W. Lycoming St., Phila., PA 19140.



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