Ned Quinn: 'You were reared in an atmosphere of hurling'
By Cian O'Connell
Ned Quinn doesn't want to take any glory for Mooncoin's journey, but the Kilkenny County Chairman has always known and appreciated the value of his own club.
Having witnessed Mooncoin's last Kilkenny Senior title back in 1965, Quinn will be an interested and proud spectator at Croke Park on Saturday when they collide with Mayfield in the AIB All Ireland Junior Hurling decider.
Quinn is eager to ensure that those who have served Mooncoin in a variety of roles receive the plaudits, but he has been a significant servant to the GAA in Kilkenny.
"I'm 26 years involved with the Kilkenny County Board, but as well as playing I was Secretary and Chairman of the Club as was my father before me," Quinn says. "The credit must go to the people that are working in the club.
"We have two full sized pitches, one floodlit, we have a stand with a walkway around it and we have a large indoor hall."
Mooncoin have built facilities, but they are now starting to earn silverware on the playing fields of Kilkeny again. The sporting tradition is really deep in Mooncoin. "I grew up in the village of Mooncoin in the 1950s, at the time in the village we had 'Drug' Walsh, who lived two doors down from me, he captained Kilkenny to three All Irelands and won seven altogether," Quinn recalls. "As a young lad I knew him well.
"Then two more doors down from him we had Dick Doherty, who won five All Ireland medals. Around the corner, down the road in the village of Dournane we had the Doyle brothers, who had 18 All Ireland medals between them. You were reared in an atmosphere of hurling."
Since the 1980s, though, Mooncoin, similar to other clubs, have been forced to deal with several issues, but Quinn is hopeful that they are firmly on the road back to securing much coveted Senior status again.
"We won 12 Seniors altogether, the last one in 1965," Quinn remarks about Mooncoin's pedigree. "That was a day of great excitement. We continued to be reasonably successful reaching Semi-Finals at Senior level until the 1980s when emigration hit in a bad way.
"A lot of lads went away. While we were having success at underage level we weren't able to bring it on. We were relegated to Intermediate, we came back up twice.
"We won Intermediates in 1990 and 1994, but then we went down to Junior when we were beaten in a play off by Young Irelands from Gowran. We went back Junior then and we have been trying since to get back up.
"Thankfully we are back up to Intermediate now after winning Junior and it is the first step on the road back to Senior hopefully."
The diligent work that has been carried out in the underage ranks should serve Mooncoin well according to Quinn. "There is fabulous work going on at underage, there has been down through the years and there continues to be. We have a great set-up with a huge number of people involved as coaches and we have a huge number of teams from under 6 all the way up under 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, minor, and 21s.
"We had three Junior teams, Junior, Junior A, and Junior B. We have a decent pick, I think we have 38 on the panel for Sunday."
Performing at the Jones Road venue provides an extra layer of satisfaction with Quinn highlighting its importance to the local community in Mooncoin. "It is the mecca for all club teams. I have said this many times before that the introduction of the Junior and Intermediate Club Championships were fantastic, but bringing the Finals to Croke Park makes it even better.
“There will be people from my parish in Croke Park on Saturday, despite all of Kilkenny's success, it will be their first time ever in it.
"For the majority of players it will be the one and only chance they get to play in Croke Park, that is the reality. Croke Park is the headquarters of the GAA and it is an ambition of everyone that plays to get a chance to play there."