Salmon, Peter Joseph (‘Joey’) (1930–91), hurler, was born 1 April 1930 in Cappatagle, Co. Galway, second among two sons and two daughters of Michael Salmon, farmer, of Gortnamona, Co. Galway, and Katie Salmon (née Curley), originally from Kiltormer, Co. Galway. While he was a young child the family purchased Prospect House, Eyrecourt, Co. Galway, where he grew up. Salmon was initially educated locally and later attended St Joseph's College, Garbally, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, and UCG, where he studied engineering, winning the 1948 Fitzgibbon Cup with the university. He played for the Combined Universities against an Ireland selection in 1953. Salmon was a member of the Galway minor hurling side beaten in the 1947 All-Ireland final, and this set the trend for his senior career with Galway, where he played in three All-Ireland finals (1953, 1955, 1958), losing to Cork, Wexford, and Tipperary respectively. He also featured in three losing Railway Cup finals with Connaught (1949, 1952, 1955). He did, however, win a National League title with Galway in 1951 against New York in the Polo Grounds, and he also won three oireachtas medals (1950, 1952, 1958), memorably inspiring his county to a 5–16 to 3–4 triumph over Wexford in the latter year. In 1958 he played a small part in Galway's National League victory, and gave a great performance in their All-Ireland semi-final win over Kilkenny. He was also picked on the Ireland hurling team in 1957 and on the teams to oppose the Ireland side in 1952, '53, and '54. Salmon's club career was considerably more successful; he initially played with Portumna minors at fifteen and won a minor county championship medal (1948) with them. He later played with his local club Eyrescourt and the Galway city club Liam Mellows. In total he won two minor county championship and two junior county championship medals in Galway. On moving to Cork city to work, he joined Glen Rovers and became one of their first ‘non-Cork’ players. While with ‘the Glens’, Salmon won five Cork county hurling championships (1958–60, 1962, 1964). His performance in the 1962 county final against UCC is regarded by many who witnessed it as one of the finest individual displays ever seen on a hurling field. Glen Rovers supporters regularly proclaimed him to be the best hurler in Ireland.
Despite his relative lack of inter-county success Salmon is remembered as being one of the finest players of his generation, and a genuine candidate for the title of best hurler of all time never to win an All-Ireland medal. His cause was not helped by Galway's decision to enter the Munster hurling championship for the best part of a decade, a period during which they failed to win a single championship match. Almost 6 ft (1.83 m) tall and 12 st. 10lb. (76.7 kg) at his peak, he was a natural midfielder; his main attributes were his speed (in his younger days he won a number of Connaught sprint titles) and mobility around the field, coupled with his ability to execute a variety of methods of striking the sliothar. The great GAA journalist John D. Hickey (qv), writing in 1958, described him as ‘unquestionably the best midfielder hurling, and he has been lord of that domain for many a day’ (Ir. Independent, 11 Feb. 1958). In 1984 he was voted Galway hurler of the century and was also selected in midfield on the GAA's team of the century for those without senior All-Ireland medals. Towards the end of his playing career he played Gaelic football with the St Nicholas club – Glen Rovers football club – and appeared in two losing county championship finals (1962, 1969).
A civil engineer by profession, Salmon had moved from Galway to Cork in order to work with Ted Pettit, his former hurling colleague at Garbally College and Galway, in Pettit's engineering consultancy firm, and later set up on his own. He was a keen squash player, regularly playing with his friend, neighbour, and Glen Rovers teammate Christy Ring (qv). Regarded as a consummate gentleman both on and off the field, he married (1964) Celia (‘Sally’) Morgan from Loughrea, Co. Galway; they had three children. He died suddenly 23 July 1991 at his Cork home, and is buried in Galway.