Mr Nowlan Park Laid To Rest

by on the 18th of December 2018

by Martin Quilty

Saturday morning was a dark day in the GAA community when word filtered down that Mixk O Neill had passed away. When people think about Nowlan Park the first thing comes to most people’s mind is the man who had volunteered at the iconic venue for more than 4 decades. As we found out on Monday at Mick’s Funeral dueing Ned Quinn’s euology Mick wasn’t asked to do the job he was told by the then Secretary Paddy Grace that he was needed and as Ned said you couldn’t say NO to Paddy Grace. Mick was always the man everyone went to go and get the famous bunch of keys off him to open up for meetings and as we discovered The bunch contained 38 Keys and by god did he know what each of those 38 Keys did or what locks they opened. Mick was often up early to leave in yhe hurlers for a quick morning recovery session or after big games he’d be the last put when the media and photographers were finished their work for the day, ther was never a rush put on them  many have commented about it during the day when one proclaimed thast out would text Mick and he’d come back down and lock up. Mick took great pride in The Park along with John Coogan and his grandson Kevin How fitting then was it that Nowlan Park was named pitch or the year for 2018 an accolade that Mick was very proud about.

Mick was always there for us when we had Schools games or senior training or even during games he’d be he does port of call with a phone call to what was needed for the particular event. No task was ever too big for the man and his respose was always No Problem. The banter was great and he was always smiling. He had a word for everyone no matter who you were and you everyone was  treated the same whether you  the President a rock star or a photographer. No one was superior to the other. He was also quick to point out to people if they did something wrong or it wasn’t up to Micks standards. He was a pure professional and Mick wanted everything to be exact and if it wasn’t he felt it was a bad reflection on himself. We often had chats about camogie finals that was lost and he would never point the finer of blame at anyone only saying it was a game we could have won.

His grandson Corey spoke so well about his grandad and how he was a man of discretion.  If a big concert was coming to Nowlan Park Mick would never let it slip to anyone and if any of the hurlers were injured coming up to a big game he would never give out information about there well being. He also spoke of the love he had for all his family and that family life and the GAA were Micks two loves in life. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. Nowlan Park will not be the same for a long time as his passing has left a huge whole in many peoples lives and we wil grieve for him for a long time to come. Mick you were a Legend and a true gentleman and what’s our loss down here is everyones gain up there in heaven. I have no doubt St Peter will be handing over the bunch of keys as he knows they would be in safe hands

Ar a dheis dé go raibh a ainm dilís

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