John Meyler was an emotional wreck after Doug Howlett gift

Former Cork boss John Meyler was given a treasured parting gift when Munster rugby icon Doug Howlett left the Cork setup to return home to New Zealand.
John Meyler was an emotional wreck after Doug Howlett gift
7 July 2019; Cork Senior Hurling High Performance Lead Doug Howlett prior to the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship preliminary round quarter-final match between Westmeath and Cork at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar in Westmeath. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Former Cork boss John Meyler was given a treasured parting gift when Munster rugby icon Doug Howlett left the Cork setup to return home to New Zealand.

Howlett took on a high-performance role during Meyler’s spell in charge of the Cork seniors.

“He’s an incredible guy,” Meyler told Ourgame.ie.

“One of the most humble people I have met, and I spoke to him a lot about the All Black culture, the Maori culture, the New Zealand culture and their success in winning.

“The whole idea was to bring him in and look at that high performance aspect of winning and performing from the All Blacks.”

But Howell decided to return home in the summer of 2019, Meyler’s final season in a two-year term at the Cork helm.

“His parents were in New Zealand and so were his wife’s parents and they were getting older.

“He had kids that were on the verge of secondary school, so he decided to go. He rang me and said ‘I need to meet you’ and I knew by his voice that he was emotional.

“So we met at the Rochestown Park Hotel and had a cup of coffee. There was very little said in a way because the two of us are emotional guys and he just said, ‘I want to give you something, I have a jersey here for you’.

“On the arm of the jersey was ‘New Zealand v Samoa on June 16 2001’, and he pulls this jersey out of the bag and gives it to me.

“I’ve a fascination with the All Blacks and their culture and the Maori culture, and I’ve been there and loved it.

“He gave me that and I was an emotional wreck. For a legend to give me one of his jerseys. I couldn’t wait to get home and I went Googling it, and there it was: Howlett was on the wing that day against Samoa in 2001. I treasure this jersey.”

Meyler was given another treasured gift by Bishop John Buckley, then Bishop of Cork.

“In Cork, there’s always a great tradition with the Bishop, who comes to the Cork hurling camp every year and gives his blessing and his few words. John Buckley, the Bishop of Cork, was always very good to me when I was involved with teams.

“At times in 2018 and 2019 I was down — last year in 2019 I was down. You have your opportunity and it goes, and it’s gone. You don’t get them back again.

“But he rang me and said ‘I want to meet you, I have something to give you’. He said, ‘I was over in Rome and I got a rosary beads off the Pope, and there you are, thanks very much for what you’ve done for Cork hurling over the last few years’.

“I’ve two wonderful mementos, two wonderful gifts from people I really like. I have great respect for John, and tremendous admiration from Howlett.”

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