Holycross Ballycahill GAA Club will official open the wonderful John Doyle Centre in St Michael’s GAA Grounds on Sunday, May 8 by GAA President Christy Cooney - an event which will be marked by the clash of Tipperary and Waterford in a senior hurling challenge game with throw-in at 7:00pm.
The wonderful facilities at the club grounds have been hugely enhanced in recent times following investment of in excess of €1.4 million and now provides a roadmap for the future of Gaelic Games and other leisure pursuits in the parish, and indeed in Mid Tipperary.
Fittingly, the state-of-the-art and extremely impressive new clubhouse and recreation centre has been dedicated to the memory to the club’s best known exponent of the ancient game - The Legend himself, the late John Doyle who was laid to rest in his native soil on New Year’s Eve last.
Doyle, winner of eight All-Ireland senior hurling medals on the field of play hurled in the blue and gold jersey from 1946 as a minor, until 1967 when he retired after Kilkenny had defeated Tipperary with Doyle bidding for his ninth Celtic Cross.
His aura was perhaps best captured by scirbe Paddy Downey when he wrote of Doyle - “ It was the quality of style that was intrinsically a part of the man; the rugged power, the sweeping stroke, the touch of dare-devilry, perhaps ; and certainly the cold courage. The image was fathered by Kickham’s mythical Matt the Thresher. Tipperary has always had someone – many times, more than one – to fill the role. For seventeen years, and to this day, they have had John Doyle, who more than any other player of this generation, personifies that traditional image of Tipperary hurling and hurling men”.
Holycross Ballycahill has always been to the forefront when it came to developing facilities for player and spectator alike with the establishment of the fully covered stand being one of the first of its kind for a club. A scoreboard was added, press box, spectator seating, dressingrooms for players and referees etc. And, it was no major surprise when the officers and committee looked around in more recent times and saw that infrastructural facilities needed to be upgraded and enhanced once more.
The club recognised the need to develop its facilities in the parish and embarked upon an ambitious redevelopment programme which has seen the emergence of the state-of-the-art John Doyle Centre. This wonderful facility is being used extensively by young and old alike in the parish and has helped provide a recreational focal point of which the club and its members can be proud.
Tipperary and Waterford will clash swords in what promises to be an entertaining and interesting spectacle as both Davy Fitzgerald and Declan Ryan come closer to choosing their starting fifteen for their respective championship outings. Both are expected to field strong teams for the tournament to honour one of the games greats.