It was about this time last year that Michael Quinn’s footballing career entered its most testing of periods.
Energized by the prospect of beginning his third season with Australian Rules outift Essendon, the Killoe star was left reeling as news filtered through his contract would not be renewed.
Fast forward 12 months, the affable 22-year-old couldn’t be happier. Now back home in his native parish, Quinn has made the transition look remarkably effortless, becoming a firm fixture under county manager Glenn Ryan whilst helping to steer his club side into the knock-out stages of this season’s senior football championship.
It’s a combination which the former DIT student is understandably at ease with.
“Things are going well,” he admits openly. “I have no regrets about what happened. In truth, it made me a better player and probably a better person.”
His acceptance at being effectively cast aside by his Australian employers is fascinating, admirable almost.
Yet it’s precisely that openness and refreshing honesty which makes Quinn such a popular figurehead in the dressing room at both club and county level.
Longford manager Glenn Ryan acknowledged that fact when persuading the young midfielder/centre back to sidestep another shot at Aussie Rules and bolster the county side’s ranks earlier this year.
By his own admission nonetheless, the transition was one which encountered more than a few initial teething problems.
“When I came back I was enthusiastic and yes, it did take a while to get back into it (football). There were a few things that came up in January or February time.”
Even if they did, most Longford supporters probably wouldn’t have guessed it as Quinn and Longford swept all before them to claim the Division 3 League championship and come within minutes of a Leinster sem-final against Dublin.
“It was a good enough year alright,” he said. “We probably didn’t finish the way we would have liked (with defeat to Limerick in All-Ireland Qualifiers) but we are looking forward to next season and making more progress.”
That’s for another day however. All that focuses Quinn’s mind at the present is this weekend’s quarter-final clash with Abbeylara.
The sides met in the league stages only last month with Killoe crushing their north Longford rivals by an impressive 11 points.
This time around, and with the prize of a semi-final berth awaiting the winners, Quinn is expecting a much tougher assignment.
“It wil be a completely different game, we know that,” he said, in typically level-headed fashion. “This is knock-out football so it is a completely different ball game. They (Abbeylara) are a good side and will be looking to get revenge so we have to be aware of that.”
Knowing Quinn, it’s a threat which he intends following through on as Killoe go in search of a first senior title in 17 years.