Death of Tipp hurling legend John Doyle

The death has occurred of legendary former Tipperary hurler John Doyle.

The death has occurred of legendary former Tipperary hurler John Doyle.

Mr. Doyle, who was 80, died on Wednesday morning in the Community Hospital in Thurles.

John Doyle won 8 All-Ireland senior hurling medals on the field of play, a record that he shares with another Irish sporting icon, Christy Ring.

He also set a record by winning 11 National Hurling League medals. One of the game's greatest defenders of the 1950s and 60s, his legendary status was confirmed when he was chosen on both the GAA's Hurling Team of the Century and the Team of the Millennium.

When his sporting career ended he entered politics and was elected as a Fianna Fail Senator in 1969, serving until 1973. He was also a member of North Tipperary County Council and had a spell as the Tipperary County Board's representative on the GAA's Central Council and as a Tipperary hurling selector.

John Doyle's career in the Tipperary jersey spanned the best part of 20 years. The Holycross man won his first All-Ireland medal in 1949 and also played on the teams that won the McCarthy Cup in 1950, 1951, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1965. He played in two other finals, in 1960 (when Tipp lost to Wexford) and 1967, when they were beaten by Kilkenny.

He also won 10 Munster Senior Championship medals from the 14 finals in which he played and one All-Ireland minor medal (in 1947).

He was 19 when he made his championship debut at left corner back against Cork in the 1949 Munster championship and his arrival on the scene contributed to the start of a golden era for Tipperary hurling. By the age of 21 he had starred on the Tipp teams that won three All-Irelands in-a-row.

He entered a new phase of his career as a wing back in 1958, forming a formidable line of defence with Jimmy Finn and Tony Wall, but by the sixties was back in the corner as part of the famous Hell's Kitchen full-back line in the company of Mick Maher and Kieran Carey.

He played his last game in the blue and gold in the 1967 All-Ireland Final against Kilkenny.

GAA president Christy Cooney said John Doyle "made an immense contribution to the Association over the course of his life. This spanned from his remarkable success on the hurling field with eight All Ireland medals, sharing the honour with Christy Ring, right up to his contribution at national level. He is regarded as one of the best defenders ever to grace the game."

John Doyle is survived by his wife Ann (a sister of Fr. Ray Reidy, Ss Peter and Paul's, Clonmel); sons Michael and Johnny; and daughters Margaret, Colette, Liz, Sandra and Anne Marie, to whom sincere sympathy is extended.

His remains will be reposing at Egan's funeral home in Thurles from 4-8pm this evening, Thursday, followed by the removal to Holycross Abbey.

The burial will take place at Holycross Abbey following Requiem Mass at 11.30 on Friday morning, New Year's Eve.