Friday 19 January 2018

Trainer's father 'shared gifts in life with others'

Majella O'Sullivan

By Majella O'Sullivan

THE vibrant green silks took pride of place at the funeral mass of Donal Culloty, representing his passion in life - horse racing.

The father of four-time Cheltenham Gold Cup and Aintree Grand National winner, Jim Culloty, was laid to rest in his native Killarney, Co Kerry, just months after seeing his son being honoured by the town council.

Mr Culloty, a former Independent town councillor, passed away on Sunday. He was 73.

Mourners heard how his generosity and kindness had helped countless other people.


Chief celebrant and Killarney curate Fr Jim Lenihan said Mr Culloty counted intelligence among his many fine qualities, but more than that, he had wisdom.

"Donal might have learnt the hard way, but he realised that you would not reach your final destination or goal or the person God dreamed you would become without a higher power," he said.

"He became the best version of himself out of his difficulties, and later went on to help others to become the best version of themselves," Fr Lenihan added.

Gifts representing his life brought to the altar by his beloved grandchildren included his AA book which his daughter Kayan said represented 33 years of serenity, sobriety and dedication to helping others.

They also included a jersey from The Legion GAA club, a betting slip and, poignantly, a lollipop - a fitting emblem of the "greatest grandad on earth" who treasured each one of his grandchildren.

He took great pride in his grandson Oisin Murphy, a promising young jockey, becoming the second jockey with Qatar Racing recently.

"Not a day went by that he didn't have a flutter on a horse. But unlike most, he usually won," his daughter added.

Other gifts included a rock, symbolising his 52-year marriage to his wife Maureen, a fishing reel, his swimming trunks and a ledger, representing his 35 years as a self- employed accountant.

In May, Mr Culloty watched on proudly as his son became one of the last people to be given a civic reception by the town council before it was disbanded, in recognition of his Cheltenham Gold Cup win as trainer.


He said at the time that being honoured in his hometown meant a lot to his family.

Among the racing fraternity at the funeral were Ruby Walsh's sister and agent, Jennifer Walsh, and Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Davy Russell who rode the Jim Culloty- trained Lord Windermere at this year's festival.

This was Culloty's first Gold Cup win as a trainer, but he had previously won the Gold Cup in three consecutive years as the winning jockey on Best Mate.

Mr Culloty Snr is survived by his wife Maureen, children Margaret, Don, Kayan, Maria, Aoife, Jim, Michael and Frank, and grandchildren.


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