Cullen's semi-final run inspired by family heartbreak

Joe Cullen (Kais Bodensieck, PDC Europe)

Joe Cullen has opened up about the loss of his mother recently following his run to the Cazoo European Championship semi-finals in Salzburg.

Cullen won through to a second televised semi-final with victories over Ted Evetts, William Borland and Mensur Suljovic at the Salzburgarena, before losing out to eventual champion Rob Cross.

However, the tournament came less than a week after Cullen's mother had passed away, with the 32-year-old using her memory as an inspiration going into the event.

"I've not practised at all for three months - I'd not even taken my darts out of their case since the World Grand Prix," he admitted.

"Maybe that inspired me a little bit, subconsciously, but I felt like I could win this weekend and it's frustrating.

"I've overcome a lot in the last few months and hopefully the worst is behind me and I can push on now, whether that's on the ProTour or TV events.

"I've not really had time to process it, and ironically the darts has come at a good time because I've not had chance to sit and dwell on what's happened.

"This weekend's done now and then we've got the ProTour events in Barnsley, so maybe it's a blessing that the darts is coming thick and fast.

"You can see when the tough times have started; she got diagnosed at the end of June and if you look at my form before that, I won a tournament in the middle of June and after that darts has been secondary.

"Hopefully I can find some form coming into the back-end of the year, where it really matters.

"If I can find something now at such an important time of year then I'll be more than happy."

Cullen's challenge eventually ended in the semi-finals, with Cross opening up an unassailable 9-0 lead before closing out an 11-3 victory.

"Considering the circumstances, I'd have snapped your hand off to reach the semi-finals but there's a lot of disappointment there," Cullen added.

"I played nowhere near my best in the semi-final. Rob punished me, irrelevant to how I played, and he was the rightful victor.

"It's frustrating because I played steady all weekend and did the right things at the right times but got ironed out in the end."