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'A smashing person' - Tributes paid after the sudden passing of Tipperary hurler Dillon Quirke

A vigil in his memory will be held tonight at 8.15pm in Clonoulty-Rossmore’s club grounds.

Dillon Quirke taking a sideline in the 2018 Tipperary senior final.
Dillon Quirke taking a sideline in the 2018 Tipperary senior final.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

THE CHAIRMAN OF Clonoulty-Rossmore has led the tributes to Dillon Quirke following the sudden death of the Tipperary hurler last night. 

The 24-year-old passed away after becoming ill while playing a game for his club Clonoulty-Rossmore in the Tipperary senior hurling championship at Semple Stadium before being taken to hospital.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Andrew Friday, who is also Quirke’s uncle, described him as a “pure gentleman.”

“A lovely, lovely young man who had anything you’d want in a hurler. A fine, big strong man. Fit and able, a leader on the field. He was captain of our club team this year, he led from the front.

“We were very hopeful this year that we would drive on and do the repeat of 2018 and put another county final on the table.

“Dillon also won an U21 county final that year for his club, in ’18, and he won a county final here with the club in 2014 at U16. His curriculum vitae was absolutely immense.

“We were so looking forward to him leading the way for the next number of years for us,” he added.

Clonoulty-Rossmore have announced that a vigil in his memory will be held tonight at 8.15pm in their GAA grounds. 

They added: “Thank you for all the kind messages. Maybe in time, these will provide some comfort. For now, we are beyond despair.”

Tipperary All-Ireland winning manager Liam Sheedy, who handed Quirke his senior debut for the county in January 2020 in a league game, expressed his sympathies while offering ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the Quirke family.

“Dillon was a smashing person on and off the pitch and all of the GAA family are numb at the news tonight.”

GAA President Larry McCarthy said: “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. 

“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 ​parents, Dan and Hazel, and his sisters, Shannon and Kellie, at what is an unimaginably difficult time.”

The GPA tweeted that “The family, friends & teammates of Dillon Quirke are foremost in the thoughts of 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. You will stay forever young.” 

Tipperary All-Ireland winning midfielder Shane McGrath also paid tribute, describing him as ‘a brilliant talent who was only getting better’. “Tragic news at the passing of Dillon Quirke. The sporting community in Tipp are numb. A brilliant talent who was only getting better & better for club & county. All thoughts & prayers with his family & friends in @ClonRossGAA. The bed of heaven to Dillon.”

Another former Tipperary All-Ireland winner, Conal Bonnar, referenced ‘a great hurler’ and ‘a lovely young man’.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news of Quirke’s passing, while Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers, said he was “an incredible sporting talent taken far too young.” 

President Michael D Higgins said it was “an inestimable loss not only to his family and friends but to his entire community to which he was making such a contribution.”

The West Tipperary GAA board and Tipperary camogie board, who have called off all their games this weekend, extended their ‘deepest sympathies’ after the tragedy.

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Several clubs in the Tipperary area also offered their condolences to the Quirke family and Clonoulty-Rossmore GAA club.

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