My hero - Paul Hyland

My late brother, Paul Hyland, was probably one of the best sportsmen ever from Co. Kildare and undoubtedly the best swimmer. Paul learned to swim and was coached by Sgt. Tommy Cullen in the Curragh Camp swimming pool. Paul attended secondary school in Gormanston College, Co. Meath where he was also coached by Tommy Cullen who had retired from the Defence Forces and become swim instructor in Gormanston College and Butlins (Mosney). Paul won three U-16 Irish Backstroke Championships and six Senior Irish Backstroke titles, numerous Leinster U-16 and Senior Championships and was a member of the Gormanston College relay teams winning many more Irish Golds.

My late brother, Paul Hyland, was probably one of the best sportsmen ever from Co. Kildare and undoubtedly the best swimmer. Paul learned to swim and was coached by Sgt. Tommy Cullen in the Curragh Camp swimming pool. Paul attended secondary school in Gormanston College, Co. Meath where he was also coached by Tommy Cullen who had retired from the Defence Forces and become swim instructor in Gormanston College and Butlins (Mosney). Paul won three U-16 Irish Backstroke Championships and six Senior Irish Backstroke titles, numerous Leinster U-16 and Senior Championships and was a member of the Gormanston College relay teams winning many more Irish Golds.

He represented Ireland in the European Catholic Student Games bringing home one silver and two bronze medals. He also achieved the qualifying standard for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics but no Irish swimming team was sent.

In Third Level studies he achieved an Honours Degree in Business Studies in Trinity College (without John Charles McQuaid’s permission) and a Masters at Berkeley State University, California.

He taught for some years in Baltinglass Vocational School until his health deteriorated and in his early 30’s became a voluntary patient in St. Dympna’s Hospital, Carlow until his untimely death on September 1st 2013 at the age of 66.

- Billy Hyland