Advertisement

Quigley still motivated as he approaches important milestone

ONE hundred games in the green and white jersey, how does that feel, Sean?

“Jaysus, that’s news to me. I didn’t think I had that many under my belt. I had an idea I was close to it but there was a right few I didn’t want to remember, so I was trying to forget them,” he laughs.

The Roslea Shamrocks man made his debut as an 18 year-old, in 2011, against Leitrim in the league, under the management of John O’Neill. That might have been one of those games he’d rather forget.

“We played Leitrim, down in Leitrim and we got beat by a point. We were winning well and I came on with about 20 minutes to go and got beat, so, it didn’t go that well for me personally, or the team. It wasn’t great now. But it’s like everything else, you have to start somewhere.”

And it’s from that starting point, back 10 years ago, to now, that has delivered 21 goals and 325 points for the Ernemen. Impressive by anyone’s standards.

Family

Quigley always had a natural ability, not that he’s the type to brag in any way, but sometimes it’s just ‘in you’ and that ability runs through his family.

Sean’s older brothers, Seamus and Conor both played for club and county and both had ability in abundance.

“Do I miss playing with them? Aw yeah, because at that point, they were a couple of the best players in Fermanagh and when we were all coming from the one house and when your mother is going to the match, or your father is going to the match, it’s a great sense of pride for them, that they have three sons on the Fermanagh team. It’s nice for them and it’s something I look back at very fondly, that I got the chance to do that.”

Indeed, Sean attributes a lot of his playing success to his mother, Michelle.

“Only for her I probably wouldn’t be playing for Fermanagh at the minute, whether it was buying football boots or tripping around the roads bringing me to training.”

Sean is the second youngest in a family of six, he has three sisters which he says have “absolutely no interest in football at all and never did,” but Sean’s passion for football started as a young cub kicking about the Shamrock Park pitch.

Influential figures

“I would’ve been about Roslea football club from I was able to go to it. From as early as I can remember I had a big interest in it.

“Back in them days you had people like Seamus McMahon, Seamus Callaghan and Colm Connolly – boys that would’ve been pushing young boys.”

Over the years, Sean has enjoyed many successes with his club, he has collected four Senior Football Championship medals and was part of the 2010 team that brought the title back to Roslea for the first time in 24 years.

A gifted score-getter, Quigley has played alongside some equally talented players down through the years.

“I’d have to mention my two brothers, Conor and Seamie. I’ve been very lucky to play with them with Roslea for most of my playing career and with Fermanagh at points.

“You look at people like Barry Owens, two All-Stars, greatest player Fermanagh probably ever had, Ryan McCluskey, Marty McGrath, I could go on all day. James Sherry as well, he was a great leader for Roslea over the years and probably didn’t get the credit he deserved when he stepped away from the county scene, he gave 10 or 11 real hard years to it, he’s definitely a great leader of any team.

“If we were singling out, Eamon Maguire for Fermanagh has been a fantastic player and a player that I looked up to when I was watching Fermanagh. I was very lucky to play with all them boys.”

However, there has been a few defenders that have tried to stop Quigley in his tracks as well and he admits two of the toughest were Kevin McCloy and Kevin Hartnett.

“I remember the first championship game I was playing in 2010, I was marking Kevin McCloy from Derry, who at that time was only after winning an All-Star a couple of years before. I think he was my toughest opponent, simply because he scared the complete s**t out of me before the match, you just had to look at him. He mightn’t have been that tough, I probably gave him too much respect.

“There was also a fella from Clare, Kevin Hartnett, and he wouldn’t be a household name but we would’ve played Clare a lot over the years but he was absolutely horrible to mark, I used to hate to see him coming but he was such a nice person, there was no nastiness or anything in him.

“You could be marking players and they’d be mouthing at you and all, but he was a really good fella, but Jesus Christ if you went to the toilet he’d be in beside you. He’d just go everywhere with you. He used to sicken me and if we were going down the road to Ennis, I’d be thinking Jesus Christ this boy is going to be stuck to me for the next 70 minutes and it wouldn’t be so bad if he was hateful but he was 100 percent, so you couldn’t tell him to f**k away off but I used to hate marking him, a damn good footballer, great defender but he was a nice fella too.”

Regret

Making the headlines has never been in short supply for Quigley. Whether he’s popping up with the scores, carrying the stray puppy off the pitch at Clones, or as was the case in the 2012 Senior Championship final, kicking the ball off the tee, Quigley’s biggest regret.

“We played Derrygonnelly in the first round in the championship in 2012 and we went a point up with a minute to go. I was young and stupid, the ’keeper came out to take the kick-out and I’ll never forget it, I kicked the ball off the cone, thinking it would waste time and the referee would blow it up but in that, the referee probably thought that cheeky wee so-and-so and he probably played another three or four minutes and Derrygonnelly went up the field and put the ball in the back of the net and we got beat by a point.

“I’m sure if I hadn’t have done that Roslea would’ve went on to win another championship. That’s one that sticks in my mind that I often think about.”

In shape

Quigley’s has a likeability and a side to him that is very relatable. He doesn’t always have the most toned physique on the team and it’s often mentioned, ‘Quigley’s in great shape’ or ‘Quigley’s not in great shape’, whichever the case may be, but the 28 year-old cement plant worker has gained great perspective as the years have ticked by.

“If it did annoy me, I’d be in ‘great shape’ all the time, simple as that!” he quips. “If it bothered me I’d go and get into great shape but it really doesn’t. When you were 17, 18, 19, it would get to you but ‘great shape’ , I don’t know what great shape is. I’d rather be happy and healthy and able to go about my daily business, than beating myself up about carrying half a stone, or if you’re a bit off the pace on the pitch.”

At the minute, the general consensus would be that Quigley is in ‘great shape’ but he laughs off the notion.

“I wouldn’t say I’m in great shape, if you went to a Fermanagh training and watched us doing runs, you definitely wouldn’t be picking me out to be in great shape. Over the years, I wouldn’t have been in any way in good shape at all. By my own comparisons I’m in great shape, maybe.

“During the lockdown I took a notion that I’d give Fermanagh one more rattle and I knew coming back that if I came back to training in bad condition, you pick up injuries, you’re off the pace and it’s really not worthwhile for myself or the team.

“I ran the roads for three months and got into decent enough shape and just got a baseline from there.”

Time out

Quigley only returned to the fray this season after opting out last season and it wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy playing football, he always enjoys playing he says, but quickly adds, “anyone tells you they enjoy putting their bag into the boot at 7 o’clock in the morning, going to work and driving to Irvinestown or Ederney to train is a liar,” he says.

The time out did give the Roslea man a different outlook on things though.

“I’m that bit older, you have other things going on in your life. You have your work, your relationship and that time away from Fermanagh, it really emphasised how much you probably had missed out on over the years. I’m with Aoife, my girlfriend, the guts of 10 years now and when you’re away and in the county scene bubble, then you’re out of it, you realise how much she has missed out on over the years with regards to holidays and weddings and weekends away, and you see it from the other side.”

Fermanagh

Despite all that, Quigley has opted back in and he has been the top Fermanagh marksman thus far. He is enjoying playing under Ryan McMenamin, maybe something that could not be said when he was playing under the Rory Gallagher regime.

“We’re playing a wee bit more expansive, attacking football. It’s good for everyone because you can watch it. I’m not going to say anything bad about Rory’s game-plan because you can see what he’s doing up in Derry, he probably thought at that time he had a limited selection of players. Obviously we got to the Ulster final but to be fair to ‘Ricey’ (Ryan McMenamin) he has come in and it would’ve been very easy for him to continue with that template and stick to that, but he has come in and put his own stamp on it. We got 15 points the first day, we got 1-15 the last day and it’s been a good while since a Fermanagh team has been posting scores like that.”

Indeed the majority of those scores have been courtesy of Quigley’s boot. So does the 28-year-old spend hours on end practicing?

“During the lockdown I would’ve been down at the pitch a couple of days a week, but you hear about Dean Rock going through the same routine over and over and over again. I don’t think I’d do that. Some days I kick the ball out of my hand and some days I kick it off the ground, really depending what way I’m feeling.”

Whatever he does, right now it’s working and this weekend Fermanagh have the chance to secure Division Two football.

“We’re feeling confident, obviously it being in Tullamore is a wee bit of a hit for us but if someone had have told us six weeks ago, we’d be within one game of getting promotion by playing Offaly, I’d have took the hand off you.

“We’ve a lot of improving to do, but with regards to where Fermanagh football wants to be, the Offaly game is a huge, huge game for everyone involved.”

Quigley is undoubtedly a fans favourite, there’s a sense of excitement when he gets on the ball and whatever happens, he’ll be regarded as one of the great talents that donned the Fermanagh jersey.

But how would you like to be remembered, Sean?

“First and foremost, I want to be remembered as a good Roslea clubman, a good footballer that came from Roslea and then with regards to Fermanagh, I’ve been in the very privileged position that I have had the opportunity to play 100 games for Fermanagh. If you had have asked me when I was 16 or 17, I probably would’ve said it would never have happened. So, to think that some young lad at that age could be thinking the same and read this in the Herald, that would be nice enough.”

030618OMcV0665

BROTHER… Seamus Quigley watching from the stands in 2018 during Fermanagh’s Ulster game against Monaghan

A560E934F622A4AC947144B852D51F15_data

PARTNERS…Sean Quigley and Aoife Scott

150516OMcV0799

GOAL GETTER… Seamus Quigley scores his goal against Antrim in 2016

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

Top
Advertisement

Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW