The rugby community in Galway is mourning the death this week of former Galwegians captain and coach and Connacht player, Billy Quinn, after a long and brave battle against illness.
A native of Renmore, Billy was a talented sportsman whose earlier interests included the GAA and motorsport. But it was the game of rugby union which was his first love and in which he excelled as a centre for both Connacht and his beloved Galwegians RFC. Billy will go down in history as one of the few players to have played rugby over four decades from the 60s through to the 90s, quite some achievement even in the old amateur days.
Billy will be mourned not just by his club colleagues, but by everyone who met him, including his many former adversaries on the playing pitch, a great many of whom formed great and lasting friendships with Billy through the game of rugby. While his death at the age of 65 is most untimely, it is perhaps fitting that his passing comes in the week of the Ballymena and Corinthian matches, both of which fixtures were particularly close to his heart. Only a few months ago Billy travelled to Ballymena for the memorial service for one of his great friends Davy Smyth, who had starred in many annual Glynn Cup matches against the ‘aul enemy’, but never allowed on-the-field rivalry interfere with the equally important social aspects to this wonderful local derby.
Having finally hung up his boots, Billy cut his teeth coaching at u-20 level in Wegians, developing the all-conquering team in the mid-eighties, winning back to back Connacht League and Cup doubles. He coached Our Lady’s Boys Club in the early 1990s before returning to coach the Galwegian seniors in partnership with Warren Gatland in the 1994-95 All-Ireland League season.
An electrical contractor who spent the majority of his working life in Thermo King, the “Quinn Electrical Christmas Social” became one of the highlights of the Galwegians social calendar, while his proudest achievement since his playing retirement was organising the Great Galwegians Gathering in 2012 at which President Michael D Higgins singled out Billy as the inspiration behind the event.
He is survived by his mother Dympna, wife Catherine, daughters Ruth and Julianne, sister Carrie, brother Johnny and extended family and friends. He will be sorely missed by one and all. His Requiem Mass is today (Thursday ) at 12 noon in the Church of St John the Apostle, funeral after Mass to the New Cemetery, Bohermore.