The local boxing community has been coming to terms with the death of St. Mary's ABC coach Michael (Mickey) Glackin at the weekend.
Mickey, in his early eighties, was involved in amateur boxing for 65 years. He was coach at the famous Rosemount club Fairview and then, in his later years, St. Mary's. He trained Ulster and Irish champions from juvenile level up to elite level and he represented Ulster and Ireland as coach on many occasions. He was vice-president of the County Derry Board and a member of the Ulster Boxing Council. Mickey passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning and since then tributes have been made to a man who epitomised boxing at a local and national level.
Mickey was buried earlier today (Monday) from his home, 13 Aberfoyle Crescent, to St. Eugene’s Cathedral for Requiem Mass. Interment followed afterwards in the City Cemetery.
Eugene Duffy, President of the Derry Board
“Mickey was a very impressive guy and a very impressive trainer in the gym. He was involved for a long time, a lifetime in boxing and he was a top coach in this area. His experience with the youth of the city and the community was at a massive level for many years. He brought a lot of young boxers onto their full potential.
“He was a bit of a character as well. There wouldn't have been a lot of bother with Mickey, he just sailed through everything and that's the way he was. He would have been a private person, but he still would have been quite helpful. He will be missed alongside Tommy McCann, Patsy Edgar and Gerry O'Kane – these people are very hard to replace.
“Mickey never smoked or drank all his life. He kept himself very fit. He would have been doing the same training as the boxers. He would have been in the gym every day and he had a training class in Broke Park for years, taking both males and females. He was really into fitness and for a man of his age, he didn't look it.
“My condolences to his wife Ethna, and his children John, Siobhan and Sharon as well as his grandchildren and the rest of the family circle.”
Kevin Duffy, President of the Ulster Boxing Council
“It is a sad loss, not only to local boxing here in Derry, but right across Ulster and Ireland, He was very well known and he is a big loss to us all.”
Eugene O'Kane, Oakleaf ABC
“I remember Mickey Glackin as always being helpful and giving advice. When he saw your boxers in the ring he would always come back to you and give advice. For him, it was always about sport. Sport and amateur boxing was his main thing and he loved that. He was a great coach and I'll really miss him. I was lucky to call him a friend.”
“Mickey was with my father since he was ten. I had an older brother Michael who also boxed under Mickey. I've been boxing with Mickey since I was about age eight so he was not only a boxing coach, he was a good family friend who was always help out with different stuff. He was a true gentleman.
“His eye for boxing was great. He would put you through some gruelling sessions and no matter how hard you worked, you would never have got a 'Well done', but the way he smiled or looked at you you knew he was happy. He didn't say it with words. I won seven Irish titles with Mickey in my corner and out of those there might have been two 'Well dones'.
“He was like the quiet man in the corner. My daddy would have done all the talking and Mickey would have put his head around the corner with a couple of words of advice. Sunday mornings were the best. He used to get us out of our beds on Sunday mornings and take us up the Groarty Road and run along with us.
“This was about ten years ago, in his seventies, out doing hill runs with me and Marc, his grandson. We were training for Irish and Ulster titles but he was out there with us. If it wasn't there, it was down at the beach. You'll not getting many coaches, especially in their seventies, going out on those cold mornings.
“He coached so many different people, some great names in Derry boxing. If you look at the man behind them all, it was always Mickey. He is just a true hero in the sport of boxing. If there was one person you could name from the sport of boxing in Derry, Mickey would be there, up with the top trainers and top coaches.”
“Mickey was a very good coach. He coached up in St. Mary's for many, many years and he was very, very dedicated and he actually turned out some of the best boxers to ever come out of Derry. He was probably involved in boxing his whole life, and not just his sons but his grandsons.
“I remember him from boxing with my older brother Eddie years ago. Whenever Eddie was boxing he always mentioned Mickey Glackin and when I started to got to know him. Tommy Donnolly left St. Mary's and Mickey took over the coaching of the club. He was very well known and a very good coach. St. Mary's will miss him a lot.
“The one thing I remember about Mickey is that he used to do wee things for a laugh. He done this to me quite a lot but I would be standing at a show and he would always come behind me to my left hand side. In doing so he would tip my right shoulder with his right hand and I would turn around and there would be nobody there, then I would turn the other way and he would be standing beside me.
“Mickey was good fun and he enjoyed himself and he had a happy time in boxing as a coach. He will be badly missed because he was probably one of the best coaches about."
“Mickey was an absolute legend in Derry as a boxing coach. He dedicated most of his life towards the sport and he was not only a great coach, but a great friend to the boxing community around Derry and beyond. He will definitely be missed.”
Photos: Tom Heaney (nwpresspics)
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