Stylish Cork hurler with a natural striker’s ability

Charlie Cullinane: November 10th, 1943 - July 21st, 2015


Charlie Cullinane, who has died aged 71, was an All-Ireland and Munster medal-winner with Cork and the holder of four county senior hurling championship medals with St Finbarr’s in a golden era for the club.

Broad of shoulder and with a powerful physique, he was also athletic and light on his feet. Stylish and extremely skilful, he was a prodigious scorer. It was said of him that he never had to use his physique to dominate opposing players but with a striker’s natural instinct knew where the goal was. He was top scorer in the national league in 1969.

Though born in the parish of St Luke’s, on the hilly northside of the Lee, he grew up on Connolly Road in Ballyphehane on the southside and went to school in the South Mon.

At 14, however, he left school to join the Guinness workforce at its distribution depot, where he worked until taking early retirement over 40 years later at a time when Guinness was slimming down its Cork operation.

That gave him ample time to play golf and attend a course in woodwork, through which he bacame a skilled wood-turner. Taking to hill-walking, he loved to climb the mountains of Kerry and, further afield, scaled the highest peaks in Wales, Scotland and England, as well as Kilimanjaro in Kenya.

Team player

In a tribute, Cork GAA said he had represented his club, county and province with distinction. Interestingly, he played for Munster before he ever lined out for Cork. The pinnacle of his career came in the 1970 All-Ireland final, when he played centre-forward as Cork defeated Wexford in the first of the eighty-minute deciders. Earlier that year he had won a Railway Cup medal with Munster and also held National Hurling League titles from 1969 and 1970. He is survived by his widow, Marie (née O’Sullivan), brother John and sisters Margaret and Josephine.