Paul Coulter: Wit, humour and a passion for hurling
A year has passed since Paul Coulter’s death on November 30 last.
After fighting a long illness, with incredible bravery, courage and fortitude, Paul passed away very peacefully, aged only 62, surrounded by his loving wife Mary and sons Christopher, Declan and Barry.
The Coulters have a life-long association with the Cuchulainn Hurling Club in Armagh, starting with Paul’s involvement in his primary school days, under the guidance of the late Enda Kirk at Christian Brothers’ PS.
Paul was not only a player (a tough but stylish corner-back by his own account) but also an active committee member and coach.
He had an incredible love for the game, which was passed on to his sons and instilled in his four grandchildren, Dáithí, Lara, Bláithín and Thomas.
When his own playing days were cut short due to illness, he quickly turned his focus to giving his three boys the best opportunities to succeed.
Rarely would an evening go by where he wouldn’t be seen in Milford coaching them until dark.
They also travelled the country and met heroes like DJ Carey, Anthony Daly and Tommy Dunne.
Success for the boys soon followed.
Perhaps Paul’s proudest hour was watching Chris, Declan and Barry line out together and win the Armagh Senior Championship in 2013, in an all Coulter full-forward line.
Paul also had a special connection with the Feile na nGael competition. Back in 1971, he was part of a Cuchulainn team who travelled to Tipperary for the inaugural competition and he returned year after year as a player, coach and parent.
He was part of the management teams for both of Cuchullain’s All-Ireland feile successes in 2000 and in 2009, where Declan and Barry both won the Dr Birch Trophy. Chris previously also won the Peadar Ahern Trophy for individual skills. Extremely proud days.
Hurling was always Paul’s first sport but he had a keen interest in athletics through his late father, George, who was a successful cross country and distance runner.
He loved the ‘bullets’ - the sport of road bowls so loved in Armagh - where his late Uncle Pat was a champion thrower.
Paul also enjoyed fishing and hunting.
He never let his illness curtail the many trips to the Drowes and Finn rivers in Donegal, Garvey’s Bog and McCloskey’s barley fields for ‘a shot’.
Paul truly was a remarkable individual, full of wit and humour.
And whether the game was in the Athletic Grounds, Croke Park or Sherry’s Field, his wife Mary was always by his side, doing the necessary medical repairs and occasionally offering her tactical opinion.
This weekend, she will present the Paul Coulter Memorial Cup for the first time for the Cuchullain club’s under-13.5 Hurler of the Year.
A fitting tribute to a man who had an immense passion for hurling.
May the winner and his teammates continue to hurl for this amazing club with pride and honour.