Monday 22 October 2018

Sadness at death of GAA legend

MISSED... Eddie Boyle.
MISSED... Eddie Boyle.

TRIBUTES have been paid to one of Louths most famous footballers, Eddie Boyle, who died last week in his eighties.

Known as the Prince of Fullbacks, he was named on Louth’s Team of the Millennium just last January. If a poll was to be taken to find the greatest player ever to wear a Louth jersey, it is odds-on that the name of Eddie Boyle would come out on top.

Dundalk accountant Frank Lynch, who also made the Team of the Millennium, told the Drogheda Independent: ‘Eddie was an absolute gentleman on and off the field.

‘I came across him when I was 18 and starting to play for Louth. He was a tremendous fielder of the ball, which you don’t see much of now. He could take the ball out of the clouds, and he was equally good with his left or right foot.

‘Eddie was always right with advice. In the 1960 Leinster final we were beating Offaly two minutes before half-time when I got a bad injury.

‘There were no doctors in those days and at the break he said I should not come out for the second half. Someone else had a different view and I did go out. I was a passenger and we lost by a point!’

Current Louth Co. Board chairman Terry Maher said: ‘It was with sad and deep regret that I learned of the death of Eddie Boyle.

‘On behalf of the Gaels of Louth I extend my deepest sympathy to his son Edward, sister Mary, brothers Joe and Leo and the immediate family.

‘Eddie was a legend and we were all so proud to have walked in the shadow of his footsteps.’

Boyle never drank and seldom smoked and was one of the most dedicated sportsmen the county ever produced. He was born in Greenore where he attended school and worked on the docks in later year.

Eddie played football first at school and was once said to have scored 30 points in a school match from the centre forward position.

He played minor football with Louth, progressing to the senior side through the junior team.

The only All-Ireland medal he won was a junior one, but ironically he didn’t play in the Junior final with Louth as he had already been promoted to the senior team.

Eddie helped Louth to two Leinster champion-ships in 1943 and 1948 but probably the greatest fullback ever in the game hadn’t the luck to grace Croke Park on All-Ireland final day as first Roscommon and then Cavan in 1948 dashed Louth’s hopes.

But all the game’s honours didn’t pass Eddie. He played eight years with Leinster, winning five Railway Cup medals in some memorable games, like in 1944 when Leinster, with Eddie’s help, disposed of host favourites, Ulster.

Eddie also won two senior championship medals with Cooley in Louth in 1935 and 1939, a junior championship in 1934, as well as a minor championship medal in 1933. He also won numerous Cardinal O’Donnell Cup medals.