Legendary hurler John Doyle dies aged 80

GAA president Christy Cooney has led tributes to hurler John Doyle, who died today.

The 80-year-old, suitably nicknamed 'The Legend', was widely regarded as one of the game’s all-time greats.

The former Tipperary star, who went on to serve in the Seanad, won eight All-Ireland medals, a feat matched only by his inter-county rival Christy Ring.

Mr Cooney said Doyle made an immense contribution to the GAA throughout his life.

“I wish to express my sincere sympathies and those of the whole of the GAA to the family of the late John Doyle who has sadly passed away today,” he said.

“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, 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.”

Doyle had a long and distinguished hurling career with Tipperary, winning eight All-Irelands out of 10 final appearances and sealing a three-in-a-row before he was 21 in 1949, 1950 and 1951.

Doyle’s club team was Holycross Ballycahill and outside of finals at Croke Park he also picked up several other awards including a minor All-Ireland medal, 10 Munster senior medals, seven Railway Cup medals and 11 National League titles.

He was a Tipperary selector, a member of GAA’s Central Council and also a member of Tipperary county board.

Doyle is survived by his wife Ann, two sons and five daughters.

The Labour Party also paid tribute.

Alan Kelly MEP said: “John Doyle was without doubt one of the greatest hurlers to don the blue and gold of Tipperary and won more All-Irelands than anybody else.

“John Doyle has been an inspiration to generations of hurlers in Tipperary, and the fact that he saw a new group of Tipperary players win an All-Ireland this year, will have been a source of great joy to him.

“Passing away at a time when Tipperary are reigning champions is a fitting tribute to the man.”

Doyle served in the Seanad from 1969 until 1973.

Mary Hanafin, the sports minister, also extended her condolences to Doyle’s family and friends.

“John Doyle’s legacy on the field of play is there for generations of hurlers to admire – winning eight All Ireland medals as part of the great Tipperary team of the 1950s and 1960s,” she said.

Doyle formed part of the formidable Tipperary full back line known as “Hell’s Kitchen” along with Mick Maher and Kieran Carey throughout the 1950s.

“John was a hero throughout Tipperary for his exploits on the field and was a personal and family friend for many years,” she said.

“He also served the wider community as a Fianna Fail member of Seanad Eireann after he finished his playing career and served as a member of North Tipperary County Council.”

Ms Hanafin also praised his work with the GAA.

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