Former team mates and Tipperary GAA stalwarts pay their respects to the late Billy Quinn
A very large crowd turned out in Ballinure, Co Tipperary this evening for the wake of the late Billy Quinn, father of Niall, who passed away over the weekend, aged 80.
Among those to attend this evening wake was Teo English, who played alongside Quinn in the National League final victory over Kilkenny in 1954, and a host of All-Ireland winners from the Premier County including Eoin Kelly, Lar Corbett and John Leahy.
It is understood that Billy, father to Ireland football legend Niall, died yesterday morning in South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.
In a statement, Niall and his siblings paid tribute to their dad as a "loving father and a man of great faith".
"Our dad had many friends and was well known and loved in hurling, horseracing and greyhound circles, but we knew him as a loving father and a man of great faith who supported and encouraged us in all of our chosen pathways.
"His passing leaves a huge void in our lives but the happy memories and fun times will stay with us forever," the family said.
Mr Quinn was a sporting stalwart in his own right, having won two All Ireland medals and three Munster medals with the Tipperary minor hurlers. He later went on to play with the county's senior team.
After a brief spell in London, Mr Quinn also lined out in a Dublin jersey, before a change of GAA rules resulted in all non-Dublin players being dropped.
The move marked the end of his inter-county career, although he remained involved at club level.
Last night, Tipperary County Board chairman Michael Bourke reflected on Mr Quinn's GAA career and paid tribute to his contribution to sport.
"Men of the quality and calibre of Billy Quinn are unique in the GAA and his arrival on the Tipperary hurling scene at such a young age speaks volumes of his ability," said Mr Bourke.
"Had government employment policy been different at the time, I have no doubt that Billy would have had many Senior All-Ireland medals in his possession, along with his two All-Ireland Minor medals.
"On behalf of Tipperary County Board, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Mary, sons and daughters Rosaleen, Gerry, Anne Marie and Niall and the extended Quinn family on the sad passing of their beloved Billy."
Originally from Rossestown, Mr Quinn returned to Tipperary later in life and set up home near the village of Ballinure.
He is also survived by his 13 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Previously, Niall said that despite his long soccer career, he would always remain a GAA man - just like his dad.
Mr Quinn will be waked at his home in Ballinure today from 3.30pm to 8pm and a Requiem Mass will be held in St Mary's Church, Kellenaule on tomorrow at 11.15am.