Podge and Eddie Byrne
Podge and Eddie Byrne were born in Walkim Street,
close to the Fair Green, which was in those days a hurling nursery. Their brothers were also skilful exponents, and at one time, no less than five Byrnes played with Dicksboro, Podge, Eddie, Sean, Billy and Jimmy. Podge and Eddie were of course the more celebrated of this famous hurling family and Podge was regarded as one of the greats of the game. As a centre back, he had few equals.
Podge first got his place on the Kilkenny team in 1927. He won county championship medals with Dicksboro in 1923 and 1926 and continued to play with them throughout his career until his retirement in 1943 after twenty years of loyal service.
Eddie played with Dicksboro in the late twenties before moving to Dublin where he joined the Young Ireland's Hurling Club. He played in the 1930 championship with Dublin, winning a Leinster title. He was also a member of the Dublin team that won the National League in 1930. However, in 1931 under the new Declaration Rule, he declared for his native Kilkenny, and his record in the years that follow mark him out as one of the great exponents of the game. He returned to play with Dicksboro in the late thirties.
Podge and Eddie both played on the great Kilkenny team of the early thirties, winning All Ireland medals in 1932,'33, and '35, having also played in the historic three game All Ireland of 1931 and were part of the victorious 1932/33 National League team. Both men were selected for the winning Railway Cup teams of 1932,'33, and '36.
The Byrnes, with Paddy Phelan formed a formidable half back line, one of the greatest to have represented any county, and they played a vital part in some of the great victories scored by Kilkenny in the early '30's. Podge Byrne will be remembered for his wonderful effort in the 1932 All Ireland final when he baulked Tull Considine, the Clare star, as he seemed almost certain to get the goal that would give the Banner County victory. Even more remarkable were his duels with Mick Mackey, star of the powerful Limerick side in those days. Martin White recalls that Podge Byrne was one of the few players who could handle Mackey.
Eddie Byrne died in 1944, on his 39th birthday. Podge Byrne died in 1961.