President leads tributes to Tipperary hurler Dillon Quirke who died after collapsing during match

Young, emerging intercounty star collapsed during Friday night club match in Semple Stadium

Tributes have been paid to Tipperary hurler Dillon Quirke who died after collapsing on the pitch during a county senior hurling championship game on Friday.

President Michael D Higgins was among those to express sympathy with his family, describing Quirke’s death as an “inestimable loss not only to his family and friends but to his entire community to which he was making such a contribution”.

Quirke was playing for his club Clonoulty Rossmore in a game against Kilruane MacDonaghs at Semple Stadium in Thurles. The FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship game was abandoned after the 24-year-old player collapsed on the pitch.

He was stretchered off the field and taken to hospital, but later died. A spokesman for Tipperary GAA confirmed that Quirke had died on Friday evening.

The 24-year-old made his Tipp senior debut against Limerick in January 2020 having won All-Ireland minor and under-21 medals with the county in 2016 and 2018 respectively. He started all four of Tipperary’s Munster Hurling Championship games this year. All hurling championship games scheduled for this weekend in Tipperary are to be postponed as a mark of respect.

The president of the GAA Larry McCarthy has offered his sympathies to the family and friends of Quirke.

“There is a huge sense of shock across the GAA community at the tragic loss of Dillon who had already achieved so much in his young life,” McCarthy said.

“He was a young man in his prime with so much potential and promise and on behalf of the GAA family I would like to extend my sympathies to Dillon’s father and mother, Dan and Hazel, and his sisters, Shannon and Kellie, at what is an unimaginably difficult time.”

In a statement, Tipperary GAA said it “extends its heartfelt and sincere sympathies to Dan, Hazel, Shannon, Kellie and the extended Quirke family. Also, to the Clonoulty Rossmore GAA Club and his teammates on the sad and tragic passing of Clonoulty Rossmore and Tipperary hurler Dillon Quirke”.

“Dillon became ill during Friday evening’s County Senior Hurling Championship game between Clonoulty Rossmore and Kilruane MacDonaghs in Semple Stadium and was taken to Tipperary University Hospital in Clonmel where he passed away,” it said.

“Tipperary GAA wish to thank all those who attended to Dillon in Semple Stadium and in Tipperary University Hospital this evening. As a mark of respect to Dillon, Tipperary GAA have called off all games due to take place in the County Hurling Championships this weekend,” the statement said.

Minister for Sport Jack Chambers described Quirke has an “incredible sporting talent taken far too young”.

The Gaelic Players Association said Quirke will be “forever young” and his family, friends and teammates were foremost in the thoughts of all players across Ireland.

“We can’t imagine your pain but will walk with you & support you in any way we can. Rest easy Dillon. We mourn your loss & celebrate your life,” the GPA stated in a tweet.

The former Tipperary All-Ireland winning manager Liam Sheedy described Quirke as a “smashing person on and off the pitch and all of the GAA family are numb at the news tonight”.

His former employers, H&MV Engineer, said Quirke had completed four years of his electrical apprenticeship with H&MV and was a “deeply valued and respected member of our team”.

There will be a minute’s silence before GAA club matches across the country on Sunday.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times