Ex-hurling star Brendan Quinn reveals he is launching a music career

The former Antrim star has just released his new single Nothing at All

Brendan Quinn

Brendan Quinn. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Brendan Quinn

Roisin GormanSunday World

Former hurling star Brendan Quinn is staying match fit for musical success.

The ex-Antrim player has swapped the sliotar for showbiz and says the discipline of his sporting years has left him pitch perfect.

He’s just released new single Nothing at All, which has featured on radio and TV, after giving up a teaching job and retiring from sport.

Momentum is building for the 40-year-old who’ll put out a debut EP later this year, in between completing a diploma in biomedical sciences and working for two Belfast festivals.

“I think my get up and go to push myself is embedded in me from sport,” says Brendan.

“Playing sport, especially at county level, you’re used to getting up early, travelling long distances so I’ve got the discipline to keep playing, keep recording.

“I do regular gigs from Thursday to Sunday and from talking to other musicians in the industry a long time that keeps you match fit, so when the big ones come along it’s not such a big jump.”

Brendan was already a star on the field with a hurling career that started at 14 with local club Gort na Móna, playing through the ranks for Antrim, one of the strongest teams in Ulster, and then for several years for the senior team.

He’s played all over Ireland and against New York in the Big Apple.

When he moved to Dublin from Belfast to teach Irish and science in a secondary school, he played with Parnells, where the commitment was just as great.

“We’d train before work and after work twice a week and then have a game on Saturdays. It was nearly like training for a county team.”

He’s also played music from the age of eight but realised he couldn’t fit everything in.

“My brothers and sisters and myself went to a traditional Irish music school and I played up until my twenties, but I never had the drive to get my own music out there, and I let it go.”

After meeting up with an old friend in Dublin the pair started gigging, which reawakened his passion for music.

Brendan Quinn. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Since getting his guitar out again Brendan has decided to go pro and leave teaching behind while he pursues his passion. A knee injury also meant the end of his hurling career at 39 with Gort na Móna.

He’s seized his chance and played gigs in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Washington DC and a festival in Spain last year, as well as support for Aslan at home.

Brendan has also worked with Sean Og Graham from Beoga, which created Galway Girl with Ed Sheeran, who helped produce one of his biggest tracks Homeless, inspired by a man he met after a gig who explained he was living on the streets.

“He came up to me to have a chat and it was a freezing cold night, but he was so upbeat,” he says.

“When I released the song all the proceeds went to homeless charity Welcome, and I’ve also done gigs with my brother for the People’s Kitchen. It’s just another way of giving back.”

Brendan Quinn

The musician, who arranges traditional acts for Féile an Earraigh and Féile an Phobail, says he misses sport and teaching, but the time is right.

“I just feel like things are happening naturally for me, and I’ve also been really lucky,” says Brendan.

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