Sunday 25 February 2018


Johnny Boyle (Kildare and Dublin footballer)

When Johnny Boyle was growing up in the Curragh in Kildare, his days were spent mostly playing sport. From rugby to Gaelic football, to soccer, handball and basketball, he excelled at everything he turned his hand to, not just at local level but internationally too.

Although Boyle was born in Dublin, his Gaelic football career started with Suncroft GAA club in Kildare. He was an underage star at the club and won the minor county title in 1949. At that time Boyle was captain of Kildare and he held the honour for three consecutive seasons. From there he was called up to the senior team and in May 1952 played for the Lilywhites against Longford. It was his only appearance for the Kildare senior team.

A few years prior to making his senior football debut for Kildare, he joined the Air Corps and was based in Baldonnel. While there he took up basketball, leading to six international caps. He also played rugby, handball and soccer was even offered a trial in England with a top league club.

It didn't take long for the Dublin football selectors to take notice of Boyle and to realise that he was eligible to play for them. They invited the half-back on to the panel and in 1953 he made his debut against Cavan in a challenge game ultimately ending his career with Kildare.

In 1955, he won a National League medal as Dublin hammered Meath 2-12 to 1-3. Soon after that the two sides met in the Leinster final and again Dublin took the spoils. Mayo provided the opposition for the All-Ireland semi-final but Dublin proved too strong for the Connacht champions. Kerry awaited them in the final and for the first time that year things didn't go to plan as Kerry won by three points.

Three years later, Dublin went on a winning streak again, this time seeing their campaign through, beating Derry in the All-Ireland final to bring Sam Maguire back to the capital for the first time since 1942. He played Railway Cup football for Leinster from 1956 to '59.

In 1972, Boyle and his family emigrated to New Zealand where he got a job with Air New Zealand. When he retired he moved to the Gold Coast of Australia where he still resides. He married Peggy Kelly from Clondalkin, and they have four children who are all involved in sport.

Irish Independent

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