Big boots for Boyle to fill

Mikey Boyle Captain of Ballyduff Senior Hurling team with his sons Killian and Bobby after training on Friday evening
Mikey Boyle Captain of Ballyduff Senior Hurling team with his sons Killian and Bobby after training on Friday evening

Timmy Sheehan

It's in the blood this game of hurling and that green and gold jersey of Ballyduff.

There's the famous Hennessy clan of course. Right up there with them is the Boyles. There's year's captain is Mikey Boyle. He has two other brothers on the starting fifteen and another amongst the subs. And those playing now are just the tip of the Boyle iceberg.

Remember too that both Mikey's father Liam and brother Aidan have previously captained Ballyduff to a county title. Could Mikey - who captained his county to a famous Christy Ring Cup title - now be about to do the same?

"It's a massive honour," he says.

"It's every young fella's dream to captain your club in a county championship final. It's a big achievement and I am proud of it to be honest."

As for there being extra responsibility upon his shoulders he doesn't necessarily agree.

"Not at all," he says.

"I am an experienced player now. It [the final] looked a long way off until last week. Look, we were missing so many at the start of the year, trying to fill a team, I suppose, that day down in Lixnaw [County League v Lixnaw in Finuge] we kind of knew that we would gather our traps with the boys coming back from America and a few of the boys coming back from retirement and it started looking like a team as the championship went on.

"I suppose against Causeway they will be kicking themselves, for not putting away the chances they had, but we stuck in there to be honest and we got a bit of luck and you need that in games."

The contrast between the first and second halves of the semi-final leads one to ask just one question - what was said during the half-time break?

"Everybody asks that question," he says.

"We just said to each other that we had to man up really and everyone had to win their own station and cut down on the frees. That was the big thing. They got nine frees in the first half and they put over every one of them.

"We found ourselves six points behind, not an ideal situation, but we came out firing in the second half. It was good to hear the crowd get behind us, especially when Pádraig got the goal, the place erupted and it drives on a team, it's like an extra man behind you."

Lixnaw's performance against St Brendans probably wasn't as impressive as Ballyduff's over Kilmoyley, but Boyle urges caution.

"First half, rustiness got into them. I think ten weeks without a game, that's not ideal preparation, but, they got over the line and they won't be the same team in the final. They have a lot of youth, a lot of experience too I suppose in the set up, they are going to be coming in with all guns blazing, but we are going to try and match their pace and youth."


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