Dicksboro GAA Club

 

Alfie Cullen

 

Alfie Cullen (1914-1998), a native of Dean Street, Kilkenny, was a most dedicated player and offical in both hurling and handball.  He began his hurling career in 1927 with Erin's Own club, from the St.Canice's area of the city and was such a prestigious hurler that he was selected on the Kilkenny minor team when an under 14.  He was one of thirteen Erin's Own players on the Kilkenny team which beat Laois in the first round of the 1928 minor championship, but the team was disqualiied as they failed to hand in a players list.

His big year in minor came in 1931 when he was part of a Kilkenny side which avenged the previous year's All Ireland final defeat by Tipperary.  In the previous year he had captained the Kilkenny CBS side which won the Leinster junior colleges' title and he was selected on the Leinster colleges' senior side in 1931.  He played all his senior hurling with Dicksboro but found Tullaroan and Mooncoin tough teams to beat.  Then in 1937, when Dicksboro did make their way to the county final, they met a powerful James Stephens side and lost out.

He was on the Kilkenny senior team for four years and reached two senior All Irelands in that time-1936 and 1937.  Unfortunately for Alfie, he was on the losing side in both finals.  It was a tremendous pity that Alfie lost out in that 1937 final because in the same year he partnered his great friend John Joe Gilmartin to the senior handball title.  However, tragedy struck shortly afterwards.  He married Rita Neary, aunt of camogie star, Liz Neary, in 1938.  When Rita died in 1939, Alfie's world fell apart and he scarcely hurled again.

He continued to play handball and reached a further All Ireland final in 1945.  He trained many Dicksboro teams and had most success with the club's minors whom he trained to win the county titles of 1951, 1952 and 1953.  As Vice-Principal in Kilkenny CBS-a school in which he worked all his teaching career, having been a student there-he promoted hurling all his life.  A number of honours came his way later in life.  Hall of Fame awards were made to him by Kilkenny CBS Secondary School and by Smithwick's Sports Stars Committee.