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Bluebeat: Paddy Cullen has happy memories of O’Connell's Boys

Famous goalkeeper has fond memories of his days in Seville Place


Former Dublin goalkeeper and manager Paddy Cullen in Croke Park. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Former Dublin goalkeeper and manager Paddy Cullen in Croke Park. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Former Dublin goalkeeper and manager Paddy Cullen in Croke Park. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Jim Sheridan went to St Laurence O’Toole National School. So did Luke Kelly, Liam Cunningham, Stephen Gately and Paddy Cullen. Maybe one day, Jim will make a film on it.

Paddy well remembers the school’s Boot Room. “We didn’t have our own boots. There was always a rush to the Boot Room. You could end up with boots with no studs.

“One of my clearest memories is playing for the school in the final at Croke Park. I had three studs on each boot. But they all fell out. It was a very wet day.”

Larkhill won that final. Jimmy Keaveney played against Paddy that day. They’d become life-long friends.

They were Dublin team-mates in the All-Ireland final of 1974. The afternoon that Paddy made the save-of-the-century. The day Heffo’s Heroes were born.

Paddy’s thoughts go back to another hero, Des McKane, who was right half-back on the Dublin team that won the All-Ireland in 1963.

“He was a past pupil of Laurence O’Toole’s, and there was great excitement when the team came to the school with the Sam Maguire. That team of ’63 were our heroes,” reflected Paddy.

Paddy recalls O’Connell’s Boys in Seville Place. It was more than the football. There was woodwork, basketball, snooker and table-tennis. The children would be in the club six nights a week. Dublin GAA icon, Jim King, was a pivotal figure in the club.

Kevins win All-Ireland Intermediate Rounders title

Bright days for ‘the village in the city.’ Kevins of Dolphin’s Barn.

They set sail in 1902. They reached the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship final in 1926. Losing to the 5-in-a-row Garda team.

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Some distinguished names wore the club jersey over the years. Among them Peadar Carton, whose sons and grandchildren would play for the Dubs and O’Toole’s.

The club is a home for hurling, camogie, handball and rounders. Kevins have won the All-Ireland Intermediate Mixed Rounders title.

“The team was captained by Aidan Lynskey. He’s the first Mayo man to lift the All-Ireland title on the third Sunday in September since 1951!” quips Dáithí Ó hAoláin.

The juvenile hurling and camogie sections are thriving. There’s dedicated people involved. Many of them took to the icy sea last week to raise cancer awareness.

Rounders is growing in the county. The success of Kevins will raise the flag higher still.

Top marks for Cuala Micks everyday

Kieran Cunningham was on RTÉ’s Sunday Supplement with Damien O’Meara. The subject of Player-Ratings in match reports came up.

Kieran said they were a nonsense. Never was a truer word spoken.

Player-of-the-Match awards also raise much debate. Rarely do they go to a player on the losing side.

Jason Sherlock made Michael Fitzsimons his ‘Player of the Match’ in the recent Dublin Senior Football Championship quarter-final between Kilmacud Crokes and Cuala.

Cuala lost. Michael played a stormer. Like he does in every game.

Last year, a man went up to see Cuala in Hyde Park. It was a league match. He said Micheal played as if it was an All-Ireland final. “And him with all his All-Ireland medals.”

Jason talked about one of his childhood heroes, Mick Holden. He said Michael Fitzsimons reminds him so much of him. Two such genuine team players. Kids couldn’t have better role models.

Mick Holden was one of Heffo’s favourite people. Heffo knew he’d give him everything. Ten out of ten. Before a ball was kicked.

Jimmy Keaveney saw Dublin’s future on the Hill in 1973

Seán Doherty was Dublin’s captain in 1974. He told a funny story to Marty Morrissey. Seán and Jimmy Keaveney were stewards on Hill 16 for the 1973 All-Ireland Football final.

“We were watching Billy Morgan go up to collect the Cup,” related Seán, Dublin’s highly-regarded full-back. “Jimmy turns to me and says: ‘That will be us next year, Seán.’

“I told him to stop pulling my leg. Before saying let’s go down to Meagher’s for a couple of pints.”

Seán added that one of the nicest things is the little replica of Sam that the All-Ireland winning captains receive. “It’s on my mantelpiece. I see it every day.”

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