Ireland footballing legend Niall Quinn fulfils promise to his mother as he graduates from Dublin City UniversityPadraig Conlon 27 Oct 2022
Former Ireland football player and sports television pundit Niall Quinn today fulfilled a promise he made to his mother as he graduated from Dublin City University (DCU) with a Masters’ of History.
When Niall left Ireland to play for Arsenal aged just 16 he promised his mother Mary that he would complete his education while in England, but he didn’t get to do that.
His love of history and encouragement from his daughter Aisling, who like her mother Gillian and brother Mikey, is already a graduate of DCU finally gave him the nudge to return to the world of education.
“I found myself living in a house of study!” Niall says.
“They were all studying and I found myself as the odd one out. Aisling is a tremendous force of nature and she kept pushing me and told me I would love it. Gillian and Mikey kept chipping in too.
“When I left for Arsenal I had done what used to be called the Inter Cert. I got a B in history and I was devastated it was not an A because I loved the subject.
“To me history was fun and it made me tick.”
Niall did his Masters on a part-time basis over two years and decided to focus on finding out more about Oscar Traynor who, as well as being a revolutionary commander in the 1916 Rising and second in command of the Dublin IRA, was, Niall says, “a great football man and an excellent goalkeeper.”
Traynor became, what Niall describes as, “the most important and loudest supporter of football when it came under attack as ‘a foreign game’.
That is when the GAA introduced the ban so that people who played soccer were not allowed to take part in Gaelic games and were made to feel less Irish, Oscar Traynor, on numerous occasions, gave strong defence of the game of football on this island and gave great service in an administrative role to the FAI.
He says Traynor was instrumental in getting the ban lifted and as a result Niall, as an 8 year old boy, was able to play both Gaelic and soccer.
“Oscar Traynor fought publicly over many years for the ban to be lifted,” Niall continues.
“Coming from a GAA background I would not have had the life I did had the ban remained.
“I played for my country and was commended for that but I now know far more about Ireland and that makes me happy.
“For anyone considering a return to education, I would beseech any person with the slightest itch to go back, to just do it.
“There is no down side, it is so fulfilling.”