Dr Karl Mullen, who captained the team that won Ireland’s first Grand Slam, has died at the age of 82. He was educated at Belvedere College and practised as a gynaecologist.
He passed away at his home in Kilcullen, Co Kildare. He led Ireland’s Five Nations team to the ultimate prize in Northern hemisphere rugby in 1948 at the age of 22 — an achievement unequalled until Declan Kidney’s team won the Grand Slam earlier this year.
He also captained the British and Irish Lions on their tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1950.
He won 25 international caps for Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s, playing at hooker. Dr Jack Kyle, one of the heroes during Mullen’s tenure as Grand Slam captain, said he was a wonderful leader and player.
“We were both medical students when we first played together for an Ireland XV against the British Army in 1945,” said Kyle.
“Karl was very unassuming, and certainly didn’t push his weight around when he was captain. He was quietly authoritative and a superb technical player.”