Thursday 29 September 2016

Jimmy Doyle tribute: The perfect farewell for hurling's Van Gogh

Published 27/06/2015 | 02:30

On Tuesday, paying tribute to his former county colleague, Len Gaynor had summoned a wonderful description of Doyle as 'the Van Gogh of hurling'
On Tuesday, paying tribute to his former county colleague, Len Gaynor had summoned a wonderful description of Doyle as 'the Van Gogh of hurling'

There was one beautiful grace-note to Jimmy Doyle's final journey on Thursday afternoon.

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As the great Tipperary man's funeral cortege made its way to the crematorium in Ringaskiddy, it passed a touching roadside tribute that had been erected overnight. On Tuesday, paying tribute to his former county colleague, Len Gaynor had summoned a wonderful description of Doyle as "the Van Gogh of hurling".

And now a poster in Tipp's colours, bearing that line beneath the red and white flag of Cork, seemed to capture perfectly the quiet honour that unites even the fiercest of hurling rivals.

Doyle would, undoubtedly, have been greatly moved by the sight of that simple wooden tribute. His well-known devotion to Christy Ring was re-affirmed after his death on Monday when family members found Ring's memoriam card in his wallet.

It isn't often that one man's death triggers the kind of universal sadness that washed through hurling this week. But the loss of Jimmy Doyle seemed to be met as much by simple affection for a gentle man as reverence for a hurling god.

Love for Doyle, ultimately, transcended county boundaries.

And that roadside tribute in Cork, bearing Gaynor's evocative line, was perfect.

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