THERE was great sadness felt throughout the Enniscorthy area recently with the passing of Michael Quigley, Greenville Lane, and formerly of Pearse Road.
Born in 1934, Michael was a son of Daniel and Jane Quigley (nee O’Leary), and was the fourth child in a family of five.
Michael, or Mick as he was more commonly referred to, spent his early years around The Still and moved to Greenville Lane with his family, aged nine. He attended school in the CBS on Island Road.
Mick worked in a variety of jobs in Enniscorthy before moving to Arklow to a take up a job as a milkman. It was on one of his first milk rounds that he met his future wife, Annie. Annie moved to Enniscorthy to be with Mick and they both worked in Peter Smyth’s in Rafter Street. They married in November 1956, and moved to Pearse Road where they raised their family, eventually moving back to Mick’s home place Greenville Lane in the late 1980s.
Mick went to work in the machinery yard of Wexford County Council in the early 1960s and remained there until his retirement. Working as a lorry driver on road maintenance, he knew the roads of Wexford like the back of his hand and made lifelong friends through his work.
Mick had a great interest and involvement in sport and was one of the founding members of St Cormac’s AFC in 1958. As a young teenager, Mick participated in cross country running as well as hurling, football and boxing, as he got older.
He helped train the Oulart-the Ballagh GAA team and helped bring them to two finals.
He was very proud to be involved as a fitness trainer in bringing All-Ireland success to the Wexford Camogie team in 1975 and remained good friends with some of the 1975 Camogie team.
Mick joined the FCA in 1955 and his last parade as Sgt. Quigley was July 1994. He participated in all areas of training especially recruit and drill and dress competition. One of his proudest moments was when he formed part of a Presidential Guard of Honour for Dr Patrick Hillary. His attendance at annual the training camp meant getting presents back from exotic places like Kilkenny!
To his young children, his FCA activities involved target practice or competition shooting at The Daphne on Sundays. They could hear the rifle fire in Pearse Road and often wondered if that was Daddy shooting. He would bring home his target practice cards with real bullet holes in them.
Preparation for any FCA activity involved belts being whitened, brass buttons polished and his boots shone until you could see your reflection in them.
Sgt Quigley was regarded as one of the best training N.C.O.s in the 10th Infantry Battalion and was well respected by all ranks within the reserve.
The sport of amateur boxing was closest to his heart and through his involvement, he earned the respect of people all over the country and made lifelong loyal friends across all generations. He applauded the participation of women in the boxing world, carefully followed their progress and proudly celebrated their achievements.
The high regard in which Mick was held was acknowledged when he received an Irish Athletic Boxing Association Lifetime Achievement Award as a mark of recognition for his devotion and contribution.
As a qualified coach and referee, Mick officiated at all levels of the sport, including overseeing county, provincial, national and international competitions. As a referee he was noted by all, as being “strict but fair” and was a stickler for the rules. He spent more than 20 years in charge of referee training and was a member of the county board for many years. Until recently he attended club tournaments and was often sought out by boxers and officials alike for his expert advice.
As a member of Wexford Ex-Boxer’s Association Mick enjoyed getting together with his pals and other ex-boxers from around the country.
A gentleman in every sense of the word, Mick was truly one of life’s good guys. He was a man of his word, decent, fair, reliable, punctual and generous. He always said “it’s a small thing that can’t be divided”.
His granddaughter’s husband, visiting from Canada, said of him: “He was a grand man. I remember walking through town with him and feeling like I was with a celebrity; everyone stopping to say hello to Mick and ask how he was. I will never forget his generosity and sense of humour. He opened his heart to everyone and the world is a lesser place without his smile to light it up.”
The respect paid to Mick and the high regard in which he was held was reflected in the huge outpouring of support given to his family in the wake of his passing.
Mick was a very active member of his community outside of his involvement in sport and did a lot of work with St. Catherine’s Youth Club back in the 1970s and taught marching skills to many troops of the scouts, girl guides and civil defence.
A proud Irishman and Wexford man he was also involved in the ‘98 Pikemen, drilling them to march “in time” during the many commemorative events.
A lover of the outdoors and fresh air, Mick and Annie with their young family, spent some great days out on the beaches of Co Wexford and caravan holidays in Courtown creating many happy memories still talked about today.
Mick retired from Wexford County Council after more than 40 years and he loved to spend time travelling throughout Ireland on short breaks with Annie during which, many a cup of tea was had at “the Roadside Café”
In latter years, Mick looked forward to his annual trip to Lanzarote with his girls, where he enjoyed the sunshine and the easy pace of life, spotting boats from the balcony and strolling along the sea front stopping for a chat with shop keepers and restaurant staff he had met on previous visits.
Mick was an inspiration and devoted to his family. He enjoyed close relationships with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was supportive of all their interests and endeavours, helping out when things didn’t quite go to plan and beaming with pride when they did.
During Mick’s illness he enjoyed contact with his friends from far and near, their letters, cards and phone calls, visits from his friends of all ages – some travelling hundreds of miles in a day – for a final chat and to say goodbye for the time being. What always shone through these heart-breakingly sad occasions, was the genuine love and respect they had for him and he for them.
His passing has brought great sadness to everyone who knew him but the memories he created and the positive impact he made on the lives of everyone who knew him will remain forever.
Mick passed away peacefully after a short illness on Monday, September 20, surrounded by his family.
Mick will be lovingly remembered by his sisters: Kitty, Lizzie and Mary and his brother-in-law Pat.
Mick’s older brother, Tommy, sadly passed away on Wednesday, September 29, having attended at Mick’s funeral mass and burial, with his family.
Mick will be greatly missed by his children: Mary, Anne, Bernadette, Teresa, Michael and Thomas, son-in-law Jody, his daughters-in-law Eleanor, Audrey and Ann. Mick was pre-deceased by his sons-in-law Clive and Joe.
Grandchildren: Vivienne, Anthony, Richard, Lee, Mandy, Joanne, Joseph, Amy, Kym, Ian, Orla and Emily, their husbands, wives and partners and his precious great grandchildren: Kaitlin, Seamus, Liam, Moira, Jameson, Ciara, Hannah, Tadgh, Dylan, Glen and Amelia along with his extended family, relatives and wide circle of friends.
Rest in peace now Mick, reunited with your dearest Annie