An air of personality and supreme confidence are renowned the unflappable character of Louis Mulqueen.
He is most known for his involvement with Clare hurling teams and for his role in education past and present but what people don’t know is how he got involved with the Clare Hurling set up and how he balances his working and sporting lives.
Louis began working with Clare teams in the early 1980’s while he was still a player, as a physical education student in Thomand College, Limerick he matched the needs of the management.
“I started when I was very very young, I played U/21 football and hurling for Clare back in the early 80’s. The people in charge of the team wanted someone to the do the physical training with the team,
“You started taking club teams instead of playing and they would see if you were useful to their plan,” said Louis.
Louis has been a part of several management set-ups in Clare and has worked with various managers but not all of the teams have shared as much success as this current Clare side and as a result there have been many ups and downs.
“I remember losing the 2002 All-Ireland to Kilkenny and I sat on the dressing room floor and couldn’t get up for about an hour I was just deflated from all the effort and the enthusiasm or the drive you put in the team,” he recalls.
Self-confidence, panache and coolness are qualities that ooze out of Louis and are recognised by anybody who knows him.
“My biggest problem is I lack confidence…not really! I am probably the opposite, I’m probably too confident or over confident and that in away sometimes. I like the gallery, I like to be tested,
“I have a lot of inbred confidence that would keep you going, its characteristic, its personality. In the dressing room you’d be bubbly and you’d be enthusiastic to win and you’re there to pick people up if you don’t win,” he said.
Louis is admired by his players and students alike.
Current Clare senior panellist Alan O’Neill said that Louis likes to put his message across in a very intelligent way, he is a trustworthy person and he never panics.
Former Rice College student Grainne Fox said “As a principal he was very caring, he had a great relationship with all the students and he was very interested in what we were doing.”
Louis’s drive, determination and confidence are also passed onto those he trains and teaches.
“I was walking around the pitch with Tony Kelly before the match and looking up and saying Tony each one of those people paid €80 to see you and he put the chest out, ready to perform,” explains Louis.
Louis began his career teaching PE and geography in St. Caimin’s secondary school in Shannon, he took this position after turning down an offer of a scholarship to Albuquerque, New Mexico and he went on to become principal of Rice College in 2009.
After finishing a masters degree in the University of Limerick he also began lecturing there on a part-time basis, with so much on you could say that life has become a bit of a balancing act for him.
“When I become principal it became a balancing act of time, you could be in your office at 4 o’clock and a parent could walk in or there is an emergency in the school or there could a student with a difficulty or a parent with a complaint and all of a sudden you’re looking at your watch and you should be on your way to Limerick
“When I was training in Galway (with Ger Loughnane), getting from Limerick to Galway in an hour was a little bit tricky,” he jokes.
He said that the sport or GAA in general is becoming a lot more professional and is demanding far more time from its participants which makes it more difficult on family life.
“It has become a semi-professional if not professional situation without the pay because you’re talking about 4/5 days a week and the rest of the time there’s phone calls, meetings and linking up. When it’s successful, its drives you more, there’s a positivity or buzz about it,” he said.
“It’s a balancing act but if you’re good at time management, if you can channel your energies into what you’re trying to do as well as get a balance of family life, I don’t proclaim to be brilliant all the time, it works a lot of the time, you have ups and downs.
“You try and fit in what’s possible, you got a make a call sometimes, and it’s probably a judgemental call. Sometimes you have to say no, but I’m not good at that,” he added.
Louis Mulqueen has also been involved with a host club teams and the element of community spirit and pride that he experienced working with them is something he treasure and this is true in the case of the Killanena hurling team on the Clare/Galway border that got over the line to win the Intermediate hurling title in 2010.
“I used to go to the training (in Killanena) and a man called Jimmy Collins would bring me home after training and his wife Ann would have apple tart on the table, it was a real family and a community effort and that to me that was lovely because it was warm and you wanted to win with those people because it meant so much to them.
“And when Killanena won that famous victory and got up to senior level, we were met on a trailer with a truck pulling us through the village with bonfires lit. That meant as much as when we were coming home on the train and you had 40,000 people in the Fairgreen.
“Those types of moments mean a lot to people, they’re really special moments in the sporting world,” recalled Louis.
Louis also made his modelling debut at recent fashion show fundraisers for the Clare hurling team for the Rice College school extension.
“I think I should have a modelling career, I would walk along the catwalk and ooze that out of me (confidence) and people would only laugh,” he jokes.