Lives Remembered

Frankie Quinn: Former Irish champion's passion for boxing never dimmed

Frankie 'Chubby' Quinn

FRANKIE Quinn's love of boxing began in 1950, when he first pulled on a pair of gloves aged 10 years old.

Over the career that followed he would have 380 bouts, of which he won 350.

On his father's advice he turned down an offer to turn professional.

When Frankie retired from boxing aged 29, he had won Ulster and Irish championships, been an Irish international, and been British army champion for three years running during a brief period as a soldier.

His passion for the sport never faded and he qualified as a referee and coach, training young fighters in the Loup, Moneymore, Cookstown, Ardboe, Donaghmore and Dungannon as well as in Germany.

Frankie started boxing at the age of 10

And his contributions as a coach were not confined to boxing.

Among the soccer clubs he managed were Cookstown United Youth and Cookstown Boys, while in Gaelic games he took the Cookstown Fr Rocks senior footballers and camogs as well as the Carrickmore camogie team.

A son of Annie and James Quinn, Frankie was a Dungannon man by birth, brought up on Oaks Road.

He had three sisters - Ann, Bridie and Mary - and was predeceased by three brothers, Jim, John and Arthur.

His skinny frame as a lad earned him the nickname 'Chubby' and it would stay with him all his life, with many knowing him only as Chubby Quinn.

After marrying Ida Aspinall in 1960 - he was 20, she was 18 - they lived in England for a few years during Frankie's army days before settling in her native Cookstown.

Frankie with his Granny Nichol while on home leave from the army

Frankie's other jobs over the years included postman and groundsman for Cookstown High School.

He and Ida had seven children, three girls and four boys.

Frankie with two of his sons, John and Arthur, beside him

When his sons showed a interest in boxing Frankie trained them and they did not disappoint, winning Ulster and Irish titles. He was a very proud father.

He also enjoyed coaching his eldest daughter Frances when she took up camogie.

Frankie with the Cookstown camogie team including his daughter Frances (front row, second from right)

Frankie tragically lost Ida to cancer at the age of 46 in 1988, followed by Frances (55) to an aneurysm in 2016.

Both deaths hit him hard but he did not retreat into himself.

He ran a very successful ladies keep fit and boxercise class in St Martin's Hall Desertmartin.

He also continued to be a familiar face at Cookstown Boxing Club - even when having to make the journey by mobility scooter.

There is no doubt the 10-year-old's passion for boxing never dimmed and even as an 80-year-old, you could still hear the excitement in his voice when he talked about the sport.

He always had time for anyone in need of advice.

Writing up the articles for the club was never a chore, and he took it on himself to make up scrapbooks for young boxers, as his mother had done for him.

Frankie Quinn died aged 80 on January 21 when his big heart finally gave up, having overcome Covid and pneumonia in hospital.

The family is thankful to Chalky Kelly, Fred Hampsey, Darren Callan and all the boxers that turned out to form a guard of honour at his funeral.

May he rest in peace.

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