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Stopping Tribes in '74 so special

PADDY CULLEN is one of the most iconic figures in Dublin GAA – the last line of defence for Heffo's army and an inspirational presence. He was the goalkeeper for three All-Ireland victories (1974, '76, '77) during a golden era of football.

An All Star on four occasions (1974, '76, '77, '79), he also won six Leinster crowns (1974-79) and two National League titles (1976, '78). Cullen went on to serve as Dublin senior football manager between 1991 and 1992, winning the Leinster championship in '92, before losing to Donegal in the All-Ireland decider.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT FOR DUBLIN?

Making the Dublin team was a great achievement in itself, coming from a junior club (O'Connell Boys). But winning the first All-Ireland in 1974 would probably be the one if I had to pick.

STANDOUT INCIDENT?

The penalty save in 1974 (from Liam Sammon). If Galway had scored we would have gone five points down and it would have been difficult. I got man of the match that day. It was almost Roy Of The Rovers stuff because it was my first All-Ireland and to get that special accolade on top of it was a special thing.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT?

It's very hard to say that because I was so lucky to get what I got from Dublin and football in terms of friendships and everything like that. It's hard to turn around and say I have any disappointments.

My disappointments came any time Dublin lost, but I managed to get over them in a couple of days, 'pull the socks up' and get going again.

WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF CLUB FOOTBALL?

The club was a huge attraction for young people around that area at the time.

It was open six days a week and you'd be at the door with a crowd of young fellas waiting to get in at 7 o'clock – when it was closed on a Sunday we didn't know what to do with ourselves!

It had everything in there – woodwork, basketball, TV, snooker. I actually won a minor Dublin medal in basketball too.

It was just our life around that time, a community and congregation and we were just having a ball as kids.

BIGGEST INFLUENCE?

My brother-in-law, Johnny Green, married to my eldest sister Betty. He used to bring me to matches and he introduced me to football, lifting me over the turnstiles for matches. He's 86 now and he still plays golf twice a week!

TOUGHEST OPPONENT?

In terms of a player with strength, vision, unselfishness and natural ability, I'd say Johhny Egan (Kerry).

BEST PLAYER YOU PLAYED WITH?

How do I pick one player from the ones I played with for Dublin? I just couldn't single one out.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MODERN GAME?

It's a whole new game. It's evolving once again though. The whole defensive systems are not gone away but I think they can be breached. Jim Gavin has introduced a mix of quick and long ball and using the wings and that's hard for even the blanket defence to combat. It's a more enjoyable period.

ANY PET HATES?

Messing around with the ball in the backs and slowly building it up the pitch. It's not a spectator's sport when that's going on.

HOW DO YOU THINK THE DUBS WILL DO OVER THE REMAINDER OF THE SUMMER?

I can't see a problem in Leinster. But it's going to be down to the usual suspects – Kerry, Donegal, Tyrone, Mayo and Cork and Dublin of course, and then it's just a bit of luck and a kick of a ball on any given day.


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