*Mark Quinn. Photograph: Natasha Barton
PLAYING A PIVOTAL ROLE in the transformation of Tulla GAA Club has been of immense pride to Mark Quinn and all involved with Q CON.
Set up in 2002, the building and civil engineering company led by Mark Quinn designed the Sports Pavilion and Viewing Stand at Dr Daly Park in Tulla.
The design concept was inspired by the GAA National Games Development Centre (NGDC) based on the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown and Croke Park’s premium level section coupled with an in-depth knowledge of Tulla GAA Club. The facility now comprises of a 1000 seater covered stand, an internal viewing area for 200 people, a 150m squared fully equipped gym area, toilets, club shop, club meeting rooms, a media commentary area and a physio room. The glass overlooking the seated area was encouraged by the design of Croke Park and Abbotstown.
Managing Director of Q CON, Mark Quinn outlined, “The basis of the brief was to provide a facility that would attract senior championship games and also provide a place for the Tulla community to come and enjoy underage games, participate in club events and become more involved in the GAA club day to day activities. To date the development is fully funded by the local community”.
Q CON currently employs fifteen persons directly and a further fifteen to twenty indirectly. The company provide a full design and build service partnering with top architects and designers in the region to offer clients exceptional design plus significant cost savings from the early design stage.
An engineering background allows for the team to present “cost effective solutions for both designers and clients,” Mark said. His qualification as a chartered engineers gives the company a unique aspect.
This was no ordinary project for Mark given his family close ties with the club. “The Quinns are associated with Tulla GAA Club since the foundation of the club, there has always been somebody involved in some shape or form”. His brother Karl served for three years as Chairman with their brothers Brian and Andrew representing the county at all levels.
Memorably when the club bridged a 74 year gap to win the Clare SHC in 2007, Mark was centre back, Brian their goal-scorer at full-forward, Andrew also in attack and Karl among the substitutes as they defeated Crusheen by a single point.
Construction for the Tulla project in the middle of August last year and was completed by March 2022. Mark credited the timing of works during the off-season and a “dynamic nature” of the current club executive as key to this. “The project was a great success and we believe meets all its goals. To date the development is fully funded by the local community”.
He added, “The most positive thing was the Club Executive, Cian McInerney is Chairman and Karl Quinn was Chair of Field Development, it was mainly done between the three of us. When Cian became Chairman it allowed decision making happen a lot faster, it became more dynamic, he wasn’t going through as much committees, it was a case of get it done, we were on a design and build type proposal, we presented it to the club and it cut out all the consultants. We do this in our private work, we design the house and build it for the client, we design it for them and give them the package”.
Feedback for the project has been overwhelmingly positive. “It has transformed the brand of the hurling club, for the last eight to ten years there was an awful drop off in the participation in volunteers and getting coaches. The club was dying on its feet, it had lost a lot of members, the standards had dropped. Since the stand has been built and the new facility, the membership has trebled, meetings are better attended. It’s easier to get volunteers now. People are surprised at how much it has changed the club now, meetings used to be held in pubs and the courthouse, now they are on in the sports ground which is changing the tone of the meetings and keeping them more focused”.
Since retiring from his hurling career in 2013, Mark alongside his brother Brian trained club teams at U16, minor and U21 in 2013, 2014 and 2015 before working with the senior side for three seasons. The new development has been transformation to the running of the club but he quipped, “the hurling is another day’s work”.
Now becoming a regular venue to house Clare SHC games this season, the development has been embraced by Clare GAA. “It has presented some really exciting and entertaining games during the summer. Overall, it has proven to be a great addition to the local community and the hurling region”.