‘I had waited 60 years for this to happen’

Before last Sunday’s drawn Clare senior hurling final, emotion was not just confined to the players or supporters.
‘I had waited 60 years for this to happen’

Clooney-Quin were about to march behind the Tulla Pipe Band on county final day for the first time since the forties.

Michael John Quigney has played at more than 40 county finals, since joining the band at 17.

Sixty years later he finally had his native club marching, at his back, around the county grounds of Cusack Park.

“Before the parade started, I felt so emotional. I had waited 60 years for this to happen and now it was just about to happen.

“People have said I have waited that long for it to happen once and now it’s happening twice in the space of a week.

“I’m a fanatical Clooney man. I’ve been living in Clooney all my life,” he explained.

“I was thinking of all the county finals we had paraded in and Clooney never had the opportunity of getting there. It was so special. Looking up and seeing one of my parishioners, Martin Clune, who was the 1942 county final, which Clooney won.

"My cousin, Seamus Reddan, played in that game. I was two years old when they won that final. We have paraded in New York for St Patrick’s day but last Sunday exceeded all that.

“Michael O’Rourke and myself joined 60 years ago. I met Pat Leyden (RIP) who was one of the leading pipers in the band at the time. I was only too delighted to be asked to join. Michael had to bow out due to advice from his doctor a few years ago but he’s still a loyal supporter of the band,” he said.

He loves his native parish but says that he wasn’t the greatest of hurlers himself.

“I only played junior and a fine bad job I made of it. I used to concentrate on athletics.

“I was more recognised with Tulla between being involved with the band, the athletic club. I spent my younger days running cross country and track. I felt emotional last Sunday but aside from that, when you do it so often, you take it in your stride and it doesn’t affect you.

“We paraded in the Munster final when Limerick played Cork in Limerick.

“The noise was so intense, you’d hardly hear the band but we just got on with what you had to do.”

He is confident that Clooney-Quin can deliver a first championship title in 75 years in this weekends replay. “They were fantastic in the drawn game. It was a pity that they didn’t finish it off but hopefully they’ll do it. They know they can match them so there’s no reason why they can’t go out and repeat it.

“The training was very good on Tuesday night and they have no injury problems. It is just great to be a part of it. It kept me going. I thought about calling it a day but this has postponed the retirement.”

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