THE recent passing of Michael John Quigney was greeted with a deep sense of sadness, especially in the Clooney and Tulla areas. Michael John was well known and popular through his employment and involvement in many organisations.
Born in 1940, Michael John lived all his live in the townland of Toonagh in Clooney Parish adjoining the Tulla boundary. A hard worker and helpful neighbour, he worked for many years in Shannon Airport with Aer Lingus and Tedcastles Oil. He also ran the family farm. He was a member of the Tulla Macra na Feirme club that staged the Tulla Agricultural show, a show that attracted the world-renowned show jumper Tommy Wade.
Michael John was also an athlete, a piper, an FCA member, a competitive card player and a fanatical GAA supporter. He followed the fortunes of Clooney-Quin and Clare with a boyish enthusiasm, right to the very end. He actually attended the Muster Hurling Final a few weeks before he died.
In November 1957, Michael John joined Tulla AC and the Tulla Pipe Band and what a boost he was to both. In the field of athletics, he won many cross-country championships. His first medal came in 1958 when the County Youths U-18 Championship was captured. He finished third in the race for individual honours behind his club mate John Danaher with ‘Mr. Clare Athletics’ – Tommy McCarthy from Kilmurray McMahon coming home in second place.
The two other scoring members of that ‘four to score’ Tulla team of 64 years ago were Tom Byrnes and Michael O’Rourke. A County Novice Team title was annexed before he finished second to Lawrence O’Loughlin from Tubber in the County Junior of 1960, with Tulla again taking team honours.
His medal haul was added to with six County Seniors; two Munster clubs and road races around the country. Tulla’s biggest win was in 1964 when the Quinlan Cup was won from an entry of 19 competing clubs. Michael John would surely have won an All-Ireland medal if the All-Ireland Club Championships were in existence during that period of Tulla dominance. He wore the Clare singlet at all levels.
Moving away from athletics, Michael John gave 60 years as a piper to the life of the renowned Tulla Pipe Band, playing with them in several counties across Ireland, and travelling with them on trips to Huddersfield in England.
He also crossed the Atlantic when the Tulla Pipers led the Claremen’s Association in New York down Fifth Avenue on St Patricks Day, 2014. His last outing came when the hurlers of his native Clooney-Quin walked behind him in the County Final parade of 2017.
Tulla Pipe Band had a few individuals in its 86 years history that stood apart, for loyalty, commitment, and years of service and one of those was Michael John Quigney. He was a former Chairman and at the time of his passing held the post of President.
Old comrades from Tulla AC and Tulla Pipe Band stood in the guard of honour as his remains were removed from Clooney Church for burial in Clooney graveyard.
Sleep peacefully old friend. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílís.
– The Tulla Pipe Band