Sunday 17 December 2017

Where are they now?


(Tipperary hurling great)

When former Tipperary hurler Jimmy Doyle was playing for Munster in the Railway Cup during the 1950s, '60s and '70s, the interprovincial competition was a prestigious event. Every year on St Patrick's Day, large crowds flocked to Croke Park to see the best players in the country line out side by side for their provinces. But that's all changed now and Doyle, who has eight Railway Cup medals, misses the occasion.

"It was marvellous to play with chaps from other counties and to spend time with them after the game. I think the interprovincial games should be on St Patrick's Day again, they were always a great showcase for the GAA," says Doyle.

Along with his eight Railway Cup medals, the famous forward won six All-Ireland titles, nine Munster championships and seven National Leagues during his illustrious 16-year career as a Tipperary hurler. As well as being a senior star, he was also one for the minors and in 1954 he played for them in goals at just 14.

He won a Munster title that year and went on to win three All-Ireland titles in the three years that followed. The three-time All-Star first lined out for the Tipp seniors in 1957 and was vital cog for them until 1973. In 39 championship games he scored 18 goals and 176 points. As it is for most GAA players, retiring wasn't an easy decision to make but when the time came for him to hang up his boots, Doyle got a little encouragement.

"When it comes to the end of your day, you don't realise that you've hurled so much or hurled for so long. I don't believe that any player can see when it's time to go but my father could see when it was time for me," explains Doyle.

"One day we were coming home in the car and he told me he thought I was getting slightly slow and that I should think about retiring. I was getting a few belts and he was afraid that I'd strike back and tarnish my career. He was right, he died the following year and I decided to retire after that."

The Thurles Sarsfields club man, who also won 10 county titles, went into management when he finished playing. He is not involved with any teams now but over the years he's taken charge of several club sides and for a spell in the 1980s managed the Laois seniors. Doyle still watches all the Tipperary games and although he can't call who will win the 2012 All-Ireland, he thinks it will come down to either Tipperary or Kilkenny again.

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