I could have been Quinn the money.
"I'm not jealous, although I certainly wouldn't mind a slice of that kind of action," admits Niall, who now fronts his own group, The Hitchers.
Niall, left, sang with the Limerick group - then known as The Cranberry Saw Us - for six months, before introducing them to lead singer Dolores O'Riordan.
"Feargal, Noel and Mike used to come and see The Hitchers play and we formed a group for a bit of fun.
"We only played about a dozen gigs and were pretty awful. We weren't at all like the modern Cranberries, the songs were jokier, real lunatic fringe stuff."
Niall was uncomfortable as a front man so he decided to pack it in.
But the singer made a parting gift to his three pals that they'll always remember - he introduced them to Dolores O'Riordan.
"An ex-girlfriend of mine told me about Dolores, who was in her class at school.
"She said she was a bit of a headcase, but a great singer."
Niall brought Dolores along to meet the other three.
He recalls: "She sounded amazing. But I didn't really mastermind the whole thing or anything. It was just luck."
He added: "I haven't seen Dolores in a long, long time, but I still meet the other guys down the pub.
"They haven't changed much, except they're probably a bit more worldly wise."
The singer, who teaches art a few days a week at a local school, still hopes to make it big.
His group will release their first album, It's All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye early next month.
"I've been waiting a long time for a fair crack of the whip. I hope it's going to come this time," he says.
ON THE QUIET
Irish film actress Maureen O'Hara is trying to grab herself a slice of the action - because her classic movie The Quiet Man is all the rage again.
A cottage industry has sprung up in Cong, Co Mayo, where she made it in 1951 with John Wayne and director John Ford.
T-shirts and videos are being snapped up by tourists and the movie is screened twice daily in nearby Ashford Castle.
Maureen's daughter Bronwin Fitzsimons, said: "She hasn't received a dime since she made it.
"I think she got about $250,000 at the time.
"But she's thinking of taking legal advice about her rights because of renewed interest in the film."
TRIBUTE TO STAR
Luke Kelly, founder member of The Dubliners who died aged 34 in 1984, is to be remembered on RTE's Sounds Traditional show next week.
The programme will be presented by his biographer Des Geraghty and will feature the flame-haired singer's friends and fellow musicians.
Former lead singer with gay group 4Guyz, Mark Power, says his new band will NOT be a gay outfit.
Power has formed Pisces with producer Mark Lownes and they are being looked after by 4Guyz manager John Pickering.
The two Marks - both born on the same day, March 20, 1976 - plan to launch the group with a show in the Temple Bar Music Centre next month.
The unbelievably popular musical quiz show The Lyrics Board goes "Country" next week.
Exuberant presenter Aonghus McNally - who is soon to host a new show on Channel 5 - will be joined by country music legend George Hamilton IV, along with local crooners Sandy Kelly and Niall Toner.
Last year's tribute concert at the Point to Thin Lizzy bassist Phil Lynott is to be released as a live album this summer.
The show featured original members Brian Downey, John Sykes, Scott Gorham and Darren Wharton, with guest appearances by members of Def Leppard and Therapy? The album is being mixed in a Dublin studio.
Tap 'n' roll
is a sell-out
First of all, comedy was meant to be the new rock 'n' roll.
Now they would have us believe that Flamenco dancing is taking over.
But whatever your opinion, there's no doubt that Joaquin Cortes is a super star.
The gypsy dancer, dubbed "the Nureyev or Baryshnikov of Flamenco" looks set to sell out two shows in the Point Theatre during the weekend of the St Patrick's Day celebrations.
The Spaniard has had parts in several films, appeared in a couple of rock videos, modelled Armani clothes on the catwalk and has cult status in Spain, France and Italy.
I wonder if he can sing?
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jan 28, 1997|
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