Saturday 21 April 2018

Where are they now?: Mickey Quinn (Former Leitrim footballer)

Leitrim won the Connacht title for the first time in 57years in 1994 and Mickey Quinn counts himself lucky to have been part of the team.

"We'd been waiting a lifetime for that win so there was a great sense of satisfaction to be playing," he says. "The whole county went mad celebrating. All the players involved were really thrilled with themselves. I'd been on the senior team for 17 years at that stage so maybe it meant more to me than the others."

Four years earlier, the mid-fielder made some history of his own when he became the first Leitrim man to win an All Star and the second player to win the award without having played in Croke Park.

Although Quinn dedicated his whole life to football, he never saw it as a sacrifice -- it was something he always wanted to do, so much so that he viewed nights out before matches as an inconvenience. "It was just in my blood, all I ever wanted to do -- nothing ever got in the way of football."

During the '80s and '90s, Quinn noticed the game changing at an alarming rate. It became faster and lost a lot of its physicality and he believes that in many ways those changes have had a negative effect on the modern game.

"Football is not a great spectacle now, there are too many frees and too many yellow cards. Referees are too finicky about tackles, they are not up to speed on the game. Spectators want to see the game flow."

When Quinn retired from football after 20 years on the Leitrim senior team, he found it hard to adjust to normal life. "There was an awful void left when I finished up with the county. You come down off a high and there is nothing there for you. It's impossible to replace football.

"I think that the GAA should help out players who find themselves in that situation. Maybe get them involved in coaching, use their experience in some way."

Quinn is a farmer and currently trains his local club Aughawillan. They won the intermediate championship last year. When he isn't farming or watching football, he often goes down to Kerry to hunt with friends and former rivals Maurice Fitzgerald and Jack O'Shea.

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