Hurling unites in memory of Dillon Quirke

Community flocks to Clonoulty-Rossmore GAA club for launch of Dillon Quirke Foundation fundraising drive

Liam Cahill is standing beneath a mural of Dillon Quirke. John Kiely is just over Cahill’s left shoulder, chatting with Henry Shefflin. Davy Fitzgerald is a few metres away, a source of fascination for many of the school children from Clonoulty and Rossmore.

On the same day the GAA unpacked its chic new football championship format for the world to see, down in Tipperary the traditional soul of the association was put on show.

The great and the good of hurling made their way to Clonoulty-Rossmore GAA club for the launch of the Dillon Quirke Foundation fundraising drive. That they all did so on a Tuesday in the middle of the championship tells its own story. That nobody in attendance could leave without consuming their body weight in tea and sandwiches tells another.

Quirke died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome while captaining Clonoulty-Rossmore in a Tipperary senior hurling championship game at Semple Stadium last August. He was just 24. Dillon started all of Tipperary’s Munster SHC games in 2022.


“The foundation for us, myself as Tipperary senior hurling manager and the players involved on our squad, is something immensely close to us,” says Cahill.

“At the start of the year, we spoke about him a little bit and it was emotionally raw in our squad. It was really a case of putting it out there and making sure that everybody knew that if anything ever bothered them in relation to Dillon’s passing that we had one another to talk to.

“And that is what we do, we are together in everything we do, it is not just about hurling, we like to think we are together in there as regards watching out for one another as well. That’s what it is about, making sure we don’t try to hide or bury Dillon’s passing, that we are comfortable with it as best we can and open up to one another when the tough days come.

“And there are tough days when you are donning the jersey and look at the dressingroom corner where he used to sit, that is not easy, whatever about me as the manager, but for his friends and colleagues.”

The objective of the Dillon Quirke Foundation is to establish a system that ensures every GAA player over the age of 12 gets cardiac screened.

“It is such a brilliant initiative,” says Cahill. “To be able to support clubs in doing what needs to be done from a screening perspective is a great credit to Dan and Hazel [Quirke] and their endeavours to bring awareness and raise much-needed funds as well, and it will definitely save lives in the future.”

Cahill takes his Tipp team to Leeside on Saturday night. Cork got their campaign off to a winning start against Waterford last weekend, so Saturday’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh clash will be where two unbeaten teams square off.

“This Munster championship is savagely competitive,” adds Cahill. “The only way to survive in this thing is to continue winning matches. We have a massive task going down to Cork. I was there on Sunday and they were really impressive against Waterford, with a big home following in an arena that suits their style of play. It is going to take everything we have got to take anything out of Cork this Saturday.

“They have exceptionally quick players, really good hurlers, they are real traditionalists of the game with the way they can make the ball talk. They are bringing a lot more to it from before in relation to aggression as well. They look a really formidable side and Pat Ryan seems to have a really good job done with them.”

Just over the way, Ryan is staring at the mural that now adorns the gable end wall of the Clonoulty-Rossmore clubhouse. The Cork manager had come up the road to be in attendance for this event as well. Saturday’s game will come and go. There are bigger things outside of the white lines.

The mural, painted by Neil O’Dwyer, incorporates two images of Dillon, one in his Clonoulty-Rossmore gear and the other while playing for Tipperary. The new name for the venue frames the painting: Dillon Quirke GAA Grounds.

  • Liam Cahill was speaking at the launch of the Dillion Quirke Foundation fundraising drive in association with the Circet All-Ireland Golf Challenge, which will take place in Killarney Golf and Fishing Club this October. For more information email
Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times