John Doyle Legendary Tipperary Hurler Passes Away

John Doyle, in earlier days, being congratulated by adoring fans.

It is with great sadness we learn of the death of legendary Tipperary hurler and Holycross native Mr John Doyle.

John was widely regarded as one of the greatest hurlers in the history of the game and is one of only a handful of players to have won All Ireland medals in three separate decades.

John Doyle, an only child, was born in Holycross, County Tipperary on the 12th of February 1930. His mother died in the first week of his birth and he was raised by his father on their family farm.  Educated at the local Gaile National school near Holycross, he later attended Thurles Christian Brothers School.

From an early age he showed a great interest in hurling, and it was in the CBS  that his skills were further developed and nurtured by the then Christian Brothers at the school.

He played hurling with his local Holycross-Ballycahill club from the 1940’s until the 1970’s and was a member of the Tipperary senior inter-county team from 1949 until 1967.

John’s status as one of the all time greats of hurling is self-evident by his many honours and achievements:

2 Munster Minor Hurling Medals – 1946, 1947.
2 County Minor Medals – 1947, 1948.
1 All-Ireland Minor Hurling Medal – 1947.
8 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Medals – 1949, 1950, 1951, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1964, and 1965, a record he shares with old rival and Cork’s own legend Christy Ring.
10 Munster Senior Hurling Medals – 1949, 1950, 1951, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967.
11 National League Medals – 1949, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955 (Capt.), 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965.
6 Railway Cup Medals – 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1960, 1963.
3 County Senior Medals – 1948, 1951, 1954.
4 Mid Tipp Medals – 1947, 1948, 1951, 1954.
6 Oireachtas Medals 1949, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965.

John had also been the recipient of numerous awards and honours off the field.

In 1964 and again in 1992 his hurling prowess earned him the prestigious “Texaco Hurler of the Year” award. In 1984 he was named in the left corner-back position on the GAA Hurling Team of the Century. He was also named in the right corner-back position on the GAA Hurling Team of the Millennium in 1999.

In 2009 he was named in the Sunday Tribune’s list of the “125 Most Influential People In GAA History.”
His status as one of the greatest players of all time was further enhanced in 1984 and again in 2000 when he was named on the Gaelic Athletic Association’s Hurling Team of the Century and the Hurling Team of the Millennium.
He remained a member of the Tipperary senior panel from 1949 until 1967.

Following his sporting career he entered politics and was elected to Seanad Eireann in 1969 and served until 1973.

In retirement from inter county hurling, Doyle continued to work on his farm in Holycross until his death on Tuesday last.

Speaking today, GAA president Christy Cooney stated:

“I wish to express my sincere sympathies and those of the whole of the GAA, to his family on their sad loss. John 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,  right up to his contribution at national level. He is regarded as one of the best defenders ever to grace the game of hurling.”

John is survived by his wife Anne, his sons Johnny and Michael and  daughters, Collette, Margaret, Anne-Marie, Sandra, and Liz.

Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.


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