(1930 – 2008)
The passing of Paddy Quinlan, vice-president of the Kilruane MacDonaghs club, has deprived the parish one its most respected, recognisable and popular characters. Since his arrival in Kilruane in 1958 he has made a massive contribution to community life through his involvement in the Kilruane MacDonaghs club and the Board of Management of Kilruane National School.
One of a family of six, Paddy was born in Loughmore in 1930. In the 1930’s times were tough, money was scarce, luxuries were rare and opportunities were few. As a young man growing up in Loughmore football was the dominant and probably the only pastime and Paddy wore the green and red with distinction. He won numerous honours at club level and also played county minor with Tipperary. He attended Cistercian College in Roscrea and having completed his secondary education Paddy spent a period studying veterinary medicine in U.C.D. Maybe studying isn’t exactly the correct word because by his own admission he enjoyed his time in the big smoke with some kindred spirits. Like many a compatriot he took the boat and spent four years in England doing a variety of jobs including serving behind the bar. In 1954 he met his match when he married Chris Maher and they settled in Clermont fifty years ago.
When his eldest son John began playing with Kilruane MacDonaghs in 1967 Paddy immersed himself enthusiastically in juvenile activities. In the same year he was responsible for affiliating the first juvenile football team fielded by the club. It was a brave and audacious move in an area steeped in hurling tradition and some would say he has a lot to answer for! In the late sixties and early seventies he was a selector on various juvenile teams in a golden era for the club. Paddy spent many summer evenings ferrying juvenile players to matches and training while he left the milking in the capable hands of his wife Chris. In 1973 he was a selector on the senior hurling team which reached the county final. One of Paddy’s proudest days came in 1975 when he guided the Kilruane MacDonaghs senior football team, including his son John, to victory against his native Loughmore in the county final. Eight years after fielding the first juvenile football team an unlikely dream was realised. March 16 th 1986 was another memorable occasion in his life when he was in Croke Park to witness his sons John, Philip, Pat and David help Kilruane MacDonaghs win the All-Ireland club final. The selfless work of Paddy and his colleagues in the sixties and seventies had reaped its ultimate reward.
His ability didn’t go unrecognised at higher level and he was a selector on Tipperary minor, u-21 and senior football sides. As a mentor Paddy was generous and fulsome with praise, constructive and sparing with criticism. He was good judge of a player, a shrewd operator on the line, razor sharp in spotting a move and cool under pressure. Paddy was generally the man delegated to handle the difficult player, and we had our quota of those. He could calm the cranky, soothe the sulky, soften the stubborn and sweeten the sour. He was the personification of fairness and integrity, treating all players equally but harder on his own sons. Paddy was an optimist by nature and he saw the positives where others saw the negatives. His optimism was always tinged with realism but he never allowed those around him to wallow in despair or negativity. He was never dismal or despondent in defeat, believing that the darkest hour is just before the dawn. Paddy didn’t dwell on the past but looked forward to the future. He always had the encouraging word to revive flagging spirits; ‘ That’s a smashing u-14 team’ he would remark or ‘ We’ve a nice crop of minors coming.’ Paddy was always modest in victory and gracious in defeat setting an example for others to follow. He rejoiced in the recent underage success of the club and he must have derived particular satisfaction in seeing his grandsons Kevin and Shane playing such prominent roles in both the minor and u-21 victories.
Paddy didn’t seek the limelight but his natural leadership qualities saw him elected chairman of the club in 1977. He was a calm and unifying force and had a tremendous rapport with players and supporters, both young and old. He never became ruffled and ever the peacemaker he had the capacity to diffuse even the most volatile situations His three years at the helm saw unprecedented success for the club including three county senior hurling titles. When Paddy vacated the chair he continued to be an active and effective committee member for many years. Paddy’s contributions at meetings were always timely, generally incisive and often decisive. When he spoke others listened and when others spoke Paddy listened. He was modest to a fault and never considered himself an orator but his slow and deliberate delivery never failed to capture the attention and command the respect of his listeners. For a number of years he represented the North Division at County Board where he championed the interests of all the clubs in North Tipperary. Paddy was respected and admired throughout the county and his opinions were eagerly sought, his advice was highly valued and his counsel was generally heeded.
One dictionary defines a gentleman as a polite, gracious or considerate man. To those who knew him Paddy was a gentleman. He was reluctant to speak ill of anybody and I never heard anybody speak ill of Paddy. He was never in a hurry yet he got so much done. He always had time for conversation and never seemed to be in bad humour. Paddy enjoyed a flutter on the horses or a wager on a match. He showed great faith in Tipperary when he backed them at five to two to win this year’s Munster Final. His son David found the docket in Paddy’s jacket. Sadly he didn’t live to collect. The Man above will have to pay up now. For years he was a martyr for the cigarettes, going through sixty a day. He definitely made a valuable contribution to the exchequer until he gave them up in 1991. Paddy was partial to a glass of whiskey, enjoyed a chat and was the best of good company. He was a devoted family man, a conscientious farmer, a helpful neighbour a loyal and faithful clubman. The club is indebted to Paddy for the many years of selfless endeavour. All in the club felt privileged to have known him and worked with him. On behalf of the Kilruane MacDonaghs Club, Paddy’s club, I would like to extend sympathy to his wife Chris, daughters Catherine and Paula, sons John, Michael, Philip, Pat and David, his sister Phil and all his relatives and friends. Gan dabht ar bith ni beith a leitheid aris. Solas na bhflaitheas da anam uasal.