THE community of Newtownbutler has been left saddened by the death of a Fermanagh great.
Monsignor Ignatius McQuillan (90) who was known to many as ‘Fr Iggy’, died peacefully at Cornfield Care Centre in Limavady last Friday.
Born in 1931, the Crom Road native continued to play GAA for Fermanagh under the pseudonym of Seán Maguire following his ordination into the priesthood back in 1955.
Despite being told that as a priest he would have to put an end to his much loved sporting career, Monsignor Ignatius went on to famously captain Fermanagh in the 1959 All Ireland Junior final.
According to his home club of Newtownbutler First Fermanagh’s, as tradition at the time, the ball was thrown in for the 1959 final by his superior, Bishop Neil Farren who later admitted that he recognised his priest but decided to turn a blind eye to his presence on the pitch.
Deemed as a “legend” of the game, who played a “major part in one of the most successful periods of football for the First Fermanagh’s,” Monsignor Ignatius helped his local club win the championship in 1959 against Roslea and also the league in 1960 against Derrygonnelly, amongst many other accolades down through the years.
Paying tribute to their honorary clubman, Newtownbutler First Fermanagh’s said, “When people begin to recall former Fermanagh and First Fermanagh legends, Fr Ignatius’ name is always around the top of the list.
“Fr Ignatius leaves a lasting legacy on the football field as a First Fermanagh’s great that led his county to an All Ireland title and also in the education arena within the Derry community in his vocation as a priest and helping to shape the lives of many students in St Columb’s College.”
Described as a one of the North’s foremost educationalists, Monsignor Ignatius was considered a driving force within Catholic education across the Derry diocese.
Following his ordination Monsignor Ignatius was appointed to the teaching staff of St Columb’s where he remained for 35 years, becoming president in 1983, a position which he held for seven years.
In a touching tribute, St Columb’s College stated, “Immense as Monsignor Ignatius’ contributions to the school were as a priest, teacher and President, he is also fondly remembered as the powerhouse behind the school’s successes on the Gaelic pitch which triumphed in the MacRory (1965 and 1966) and Hogan Cups (1966).
“The images of Monsignor Ignatius being carried shoulder high by jubilant college boys resonate to this day.”
Following Requiem Mass, Monsignor McQuillan was laid to rest at St Mary’s Church Ardmore on Monday.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition