Babs Keating reveals how Christy Ring paid Jimmy Doyle the greatest hurling compliment ever
Tipperary great Babs Keating has been reflecting on the life of hurling legend Jimmy Doyle who passed away yesterday at the age of 76.
Keating and Doyle were team mates in the great Tipperary team of the late 50s and 60s and Babs was glowing in his praise of the Thurles Sarsfields stalwart.
Doyle won six All-Ireland senior medals, nine Munster championship medals and seven National League medals. He captained the team to their All-Ireland victories in 1962 and 1965. He also won eight Railway Cup medals and got an opportunity to hurl alongside with boyhood hero Christy Ring.
Babs Keating told a wonderful story on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One which proved the admiration Doyle had for Ring was mutual.
"In my working career, Christy and myself covered the same territory for two-and-a-half-years, we were both in the oil business. I used to have lunch with Christy once a fortnight," he said.
"This particular day in Mallow, a few people came over to talk about hurling. They threw a question at me, 'who is the best hurler ever in your opinion?'.
I wouldn't answer in Christy's presence but we were walking out afterwards to the car and Christy walked beside me, shrugged his shoulders and said: 'Do ya know Babs, if Jimmy Doyle was as strong as you and I... no one would ever ask who was the greatest hurler'.
"Probably the greatest the compliment that was ever paid to any hurler."
Keating described Doyle, who played on four minor All-Irelands (winning three), as a player that was admired by his team mates and respected by opponents.
"His skill level was unbelievable,"
"Jimmy could do things with the hurling ball in training and did them on the big days. He could bend the ball beyond a goalkeeper.
"One of his greatest performances was in an All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny , after Kilkenny won an All-Ireland.
"I have travelled to most of the hurling county's in Ireland and the respect that Jimmy Doyle had was just unbelievable."
The Munster MHC semi-final between Tipperary and Clare has been moved back 24 hours to Thursday due to the death of Jimmy Doyle.