FROM 1970, when he captained Newbridge College to a Leinster Schools Senior Cup, Mick Quinn enjoyed a successful rugby career. And success still follows him -- he was manager of the Lansdowne team which won promotion to AIL Division 1A this year.
As an outhalf in Leinster, he was up against an array of talent from the time of his first cap for the province in 1972 until his last in 1985. He competed for the No 10 jersey with Ollie Campbell, Paul Dean, Daragh Coakley and Tony Ward.
His career highlights are many but helping Ireland to win the Five Nations title in 1974 (for the first time since 1951) tops the list. "It was a bigger thing than the Triple Crown," he recalls, "but unfortunately it tends to be forgotten when they are doing highlights of past Irish performances."
This is surprising when you consider it included a win over England (26-21) at Twickenham, when Mike Gibson (2), Johnny Moloney and Terry Moore ran in tries and Quinn contributed a drop goal in what many regard as his best game for Ireland.
With Lansdowne, he won four Leinster Cups and three Leagues, while he played for a World XV against the Springboks in 1977, and went on two tours with Ireland, in 1976 to New Zealand and Fiji, and in 1981, when he got a call-up for the final test against South Africa in Durban when Ollie Campbell was injured. The Springboks scraped a 12-10 win.
He feels privileged to see the present Leinster team in action. "Joe Schmidt has brought the best out of the players and given them the responsibility to make decisions on the pitch. Brian O'Driscoll is the best player I've ever seen. He's got courage, pace, a head for the game, leadership, and he always comes up with an important score.
"It's like when we were watching Pele, and thinking what will we do when he's gone. That's how good O'Driscoll is. He's a brilliant player, bringing the best out of the players around him. (Gordon) D'Arcy is a great foil for him, and (Jonny) Sexton is a wonderful player, very good going forward, and kicks well. If Toulouse are the Barcelona of European Cup rugby, it shows where Leinster are at."
Quinn, who was in property management, now heads up the IRFU's Charitable Trust, which looks after paralysed players. "These players are absolutely brilliant, there is so much to admire about them," he says. "They teach me things all the time. It would lift your spirits talking to them."
For fans going to the World Cup in New Zealand, Mick is organising a 100k walk and a 1,000k cycle in the South Island for the Trust. If you are interested, contact email@example.com.
Sunday Indo Sport