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In memory of Sean Quinlan R.I.P.

OUR older supporters will be saddened to learn of the death in Dublin of former Roughyeds winger Sean Quinlan, who was part of the Watersheddings scene in the boom days of the late 1950s. We thank his son, Pearse, for informing us of his father’s passing just a few days after his 83rd birthday.

Sean Quinlan is second from the left holding a programme. Also seated Oldham coach Griff Jenkins.

A product of the well-known Blackrock College in Dublin, Quinlan was a big-name signing for the Roughyeds. He had played four times for Ireland in Rugby Union and was generally thought to be one of that code’s best and fastest wingers.

Top Rugby League clubs tracked him, but Oldham got their man . . . and, despite his cruel luck with injuries, the young Irishman was a popular member of the squad at a time when wingers were the sport’s pin-up boys, among them the Roughyeds trio of John Etty, Dick Cracknell and Ike Southward.

Griff Jenkins was coach and Oldham were riding high, having won the Lancashire Cup in 1956, 57 and 58 and the League Championship in 1957.

Quinlan had joined a club that was famed for its brand of open, attacking rugby, but his League ambitions were dashed by a run of knee injuries in an Oldham career that spanned three seasons.

He was restricted to 11 first-team games — eight of them outside that prince of centres Alan Davies and the other three partnered by Vinny Nestor.

He made his debut on November 22, 1958 in a 13-12 League Championship win against Leeds at Watersheddings and then played in two more games over Christmas, scoring the first of his four tries for the club in a 14-14 draw at Hunslet.

A serious knee injury at Parkside, in only his third first-team game, kept him out until the following season whereupon he scored his second try in the first game, a 27-12 home win against Leeds. A recurrence of the injury kept him out for another three weeks, but he returned to action in a 43-9 win against Hunslet at Watersheddings — and promptly scored two more tries.

In his next game against Warrington he suffered damage to his other knee – an injury that sidelined him again until the start of the 60-61 season.

After corrective surgery, he played in the first five games of that season against top teams such as St Helens, Warrington, Leeds, Wigan and Leigh, but then one of his knees failed again.

Sean Quinlan (front-row, extreme left) and the Oldham A Team
Brian Walker of the Oldham RL Heritage Trust, writing in his book ‘Roughyeds — The Story’, said of Quinlan: “It would have been easy for him (at that stage) to pack his bags and return home to Ireland, but he didn’t. He persevered with knee-strengthening exercises, but eventually had to undergo a second operation which was again unsuccessful. Only then did he throw in the towel.”

The sincere condolences of chairman Chris Hamilton, head coach Scott Naylor, staff, players and supporters young and old at the present-day Oldham club, together with those of the Oldham RL Heritage Trust, are sent across the Irish Sea to the Quinlan family.

Sean Quinlan playing for Ireland RU.

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AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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