Dillon Quirke is aiming to make a name for himself with Tipperary this year after overcoming a heart virus.
After starring for his club in their victorious 2018 Tipperary championship campaign, Quirke was called to the extended senior panel by Liam Sheedy last season only for him to be laid low by myocarditis.
“That took a lot out of me so I had to take three or four months off, I wasn’t allowed to do a thing,” he recalled. “I took last year off and I got back in with the club and it was nice to get a call in by Liam this year and I just wanted to give it my best shot.”
The illness was more of a frustrating experience for Quirke but for his family it was upsetting. “The lining of your heart gets swollen, it comes under stress, it can often happen when your immune system is low. I collapsed at home one day after work and I went down to hospital and after a good few tests, they eventually found the problem. I had to avoid physical contact, so there was no training for three months.
“I didn’t know what was going on at the start. I was keeping calm, didn’t think much of it but I suppose the doctors were saying otherwise to the mother and father. I didn’t think much, I wanted to come back after two or three weeks.
“I collapsed and then I came back after three months and I collapsed again and was taken down in the ambulance again.
“That’s why I had to take a break. When I came back, I got shingles then with the club.
“My immune system was very low. The doc is very good as well so he keeps track well, I still do tests but it’s all 100% now.
“It was just relaxing and taking a break for a few months and eventually, your immune system starts building back up and you just take it bit by bit. I was coming back in last year and the boys had their hard pre-season in and I just wasn’t able to catch up so I thought it was best to take a break for the year. I’m happy enough with where I am now.”
Man of the match in Sunday’s win over Waterford with four points from play, Quirke was thrilled just to be making his first senior start alongside his heroes. “It was unreal. I waited all my life for this. To play with the lads, the likes of Noel McGrath and Seamus Callanan, it’s a dream. I was just lucky to get a chance and it could have been anyone on the panel.”
With 10 of the 2018 U21 All-Ireland winning team in the senior panel, there are also familiar faces for Quirke. “We all bonded well and the boys have welcomed us in. It’s nice to have a few lads your own age in there but we’re all bonding well.”