Jimmy Doyle

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For the boxer, see Jimmy Doyle (boxer). For the Gene Hackman character, see Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle. For the Australian musician, see Jimmy Doyle (musician).
Jimmy Doyle
Jimmy Doyle.jpg
Personal information
Irish name Séamus Ó Dúil
Sport Hurling
Position Right wing-forward
Born 1939
Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Years Club
1956–1975 Thurles Sarsfield's
Club titles
Tipperary titles 10
Years County Apps (scores)
1957–1973 Tipperary 39 (18–176)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 9
All-Irelands 6
All Stars 0
*Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 21:05, 9 August 2013.

James "Jimmy" Doyle (born 1939) is an Irish retired hurler who played as a right wing-forward for the Tipperary senior team.[1][2][3][4]

Born in Thurles, County Tipperary, Doyle first excelled at hurling whilst at school in Thurles CBS. He arrived on the inter-county scene at the age of fourteen when he first linked up with the Tipperary minor team. He made his senior debut in the 1957–58 National League. Doyle went on to play a key part for Tipperary during a hugely successful era for the team, and won six All-Ireland medals, nine Munster medals and seven National Hurling League medals. An All-Ireland runner-up on three occasions, Doyle also captained the team to All-Ireland victory in 1962 and 1965.

As a member of the Munster inter-provincial team for twelve years, Doyle won eight Railway Cup medals. At club level he won ten championship medal with Thurles Sarsfield's.

At the time of his retirement Doyle's career tally of 18 goals and 176 points ranked him as Tipperary's all-time top scorer. It was a record which stood until 24 June 2007 when it was surpassed by Eoin Kelly.

Throughout his career Doyle made 39 championship appearances. His retirement came following Tipperary's defeat by Limerick in the 1973 championship.

In retirement from playing, Doyle became involved in team management and coaching, including an unsuccessful spell as manager of the Laois senior team.

Doyle is widely regarded as one of the greatest hurlers in the history of the game. During his playing days he won three Cú Chulainn awards, as well as being named Texaco Hurler of the Year in 1964/1965. He has been repeatedly voted onto teams made up of the sport's greats, including at right corner-forward on the Hurling Team of the Century in 1984 and at left corner-forward on the Hurling Team of the Millennium in 2000.

Early life[edit]

Jimmy Doyle was born in Thurles, County Tipperary in 1939. Growing up just around the corner from Thurles Sportsfield, one of the premier venues for Munster hurlers and now known as Semple Stadium, his family had a strong association with the game of hurling. Doyle's father Gerry, a shoe repairer by trade, had been the substitute goalkeeper on the Tipperary's team that won the 1937 and 1945 All-Ireland titles. His uncle was the famous Tommy Doyle, winner of five All-Ireland medals with Tipperary in the 1940s and 1950s.[5]

Doyle was educated locally at the Christian Brothers school in Thurles; however, he had few academic leanings and virtually no interest in school. His mother would do his homework for him while Doyle practised his hurling skills with his sheepdog in the shadow of the famous Thurles Sportsfield. It was with his dog that Doyle learned the basic skills of hurling and, in particular, the need to control the sliotar. It was with Thurles CBS that Doyle first tasted success as a hurler, winning their first Dr. Harty Cup in 1956.

Playing career[edit]


Doyle attended Thurles CBS and enjoyed some success.

In 1956 he played a key part for the college in the provincial championship. A 2–5 to 2–3 defeat of the North Monastery, Cork gave Doyle a coveted Harty Cup medal.[6]


Doyle played his club hurling with Thurles Sarsfield's and enjoyed much success in a career that spanned three decades.[7]

He first came to prominence as a member of the club's minor hurling team, winning four championship medals in-a-row between 1954 and 1957.

By 1956 Doyle, as a sixteen-year-old, joined the Thurles Sarsfield's senior team. It was a successful debut season, as he won his first championship medal following a 3–8 to 1–4 defeat of Lorrha. It was a hugely successful era for Doyle and Sarsfield's, as he added further championship medals to his collection in 1957, following a 4–14 to 4–4 defeat of southern "combo" Na Piarsaigh, and in 1958 as Toomevara were downed by 4–11 to 3–3.

Doyle won a fourth successive championship medal in 1959 as Kilruane MacDonagh's were defeated by 3–12 to 2–6, in spite of both teams being on level terms with just ten minutes remaining.

Thurles Sarfield's great run of success came to an end in 1960, however, in spite of facing defeat on the furling field, Doyle won a championship medal with the Thurles Croke's football team following their defeat of Clonmel Commercials.

While many thought that Thurles Sarsfield's were now in decline as a hurling power, the team bounced back in 1961. A 3–4 to 0–9 defeat of Toomevara gave Doyle his fifth championship medal. It was the beginning of another glorious era for the team, as further defeats of Moycarkey-Borris in 1962, Roscrea in 1963 and Holycross-Ballycahill in 1964 brought Doyle's championship medal tally to eight.

In 1965 Doyle's side had the chance to make history by winning a record-equalling fifth successive championship. Carrick Davins provided the opposition and took Sarsfield's to a replay. A 3–11 to 2–7 victory at the second time of asking gave Doyle a ninth championship medal.

Almost a decade past before Doyle, who by now was captain of the team, enjoyed one final success. A 3–6 to 1–10 defeat of Silvermines gave him a remarkable tenth championship medal.


Doyle was just fourteen years old when he joined the Tipperary minor hurling team as a goalkeeper in 1954.[8] It was a successful start to his inter-county career, as he won a Munster medal that year following a 3–5 to 2–3 defeat of Limerick. The subsequent All-Ireland final on 5 September 1954 saw Dublin provide the opposition, however, Tipp were defeated by 2–7 to 2–3.

It was after this defeat that Doyle hinted that he wanted to be moved from the position of goalkeeper to a more favoured position in the forward line. His wish was granted and he won a second consecutive Munster medal in 1955 following an 8–11 to 2–5 trouncing of Waterford. Doyle later appeared in a second All-Ireland final on 4 September 1955 with Galway providing the opposition. His move to the forward line was a worthwhile venture as he scored a remarkable 2–8. Tipperary won the game by 5–15 to 2–5 giving Doyle a coveted All-Ireland medal.

In 1956 Doyle collected a third successive Munster medal as Waterford were downed once again on a 10–10 to 4–4 score line. On 23 September 1956 Tipperary faced Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final. A 4–16 to 1–5 trouncing gave Doyle his second All-Ireland medal.

Doyle was appointed captain of the Tipperary minor team in 1957, in what was his last year in the grade. A 3–8 to 1–4 defeat of Limerick gave him a remarkable fourth successive Munster medal. For the second year in-a-row, Kilkenny provided the opposition in the All-Ireland final. In a close game Tipperary eventually triumphed by 4–7 to 3–7. The victory gave Doyle a record-breaking third successive All-Ireland medal.


First victories[edit]

Doyle was still in the minor grade when he joined the Tipperary senior team for the 1956–57 National Hurling League. It was a successful campaign as Doyle collected a National Hurling League medal following a 3–11 to 2–7 defeat of Kilkenny in the decider. He made his senior championship debut in a Munster semi-final defeat by Cork on 30 June 1957.

In 1958 Doyle won his first Munster medal as Tipperary regained the provincial crown following a 4–12 to 1–5 trouncing of reigning champions Waterford.[9] Tipp later defeated Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final before lining out against Galway in the All-Ireland decider on 7 September 1958. Galway got a bye into the final without picking up a hurley. Liam Devaney, Donie Nealon and Larry Keane all scored goals for Tipperary in the first-half, while Tony Wall sent a seventy-yard free untouched to the Galway net. Tipperary won the game by 4–9 to 2–5 giving Doyle his first All-Ireland medal.[10] He also ended the championship as the top scorer with 2–23.

Doyle won a second National League medal in 1959 following a 0–15 to 0–7 defeat of Waterford, however, Tipperary subsequently surrendered their provincial and All-Ireland crowns.

Tipperary asserted their dominance in 1960 by retaining the National League title with a 2–15 to 3–8 defeat of Cork. It was Doyle's third winners' medal in that competition. He later won a second Munster medal, contributing 1–8, following a narrow 4–13 to 4–11 defeat of Cork in what has been described as the toughest game of hurling ever played. This victory allowed Tipperary to advance directly to an All-Ireland final meeting with Wexford on 4 September 1960. A certain amount of over-confidence was obvious in the Tipperary camp, particularly in trainer Phil Purcell's comment that no player was capable of marking Jimmy Doyle. The game ended in remarkable circumstances as the crowd invaded the pitch with a minute to go, mistaking the referee's whistle for the end of the game. When the crowd were finally moved off the pitch Tipperary continued playing with only twelve men, but Wexford won on a score line of 2–15 to 0–11. It was Doyle's first All-Ireland defeat, however, he still ended the season as the championship's top scorer.

Total dominance[edit]

1961 saw Doyle collect a fourth National League medal following a 6–6 to 4–9 defeat of Waterford. He later added a third Munster medal to his collection, as old rivals Cork were downed by 3–6 to 0–7. The game was not without incident as Doyle's ankle was broken following a wild stroke from Jimmy Brohan. He was an immediate doubt for the All-Ireland final as the ankle was reluctantly put in plaster. Doyle walked several miles every evening to strengthen the broken bone, however, when the plaster was removed the ankle was still badly discoloured and swollen. On the Wednesday prior to the All-Ireland final, he failed a fitness test and was a doubt for the game. On 3 September 1961 Dublin provided the opposition in the All-Ireland decider and Doyle was named in the starting fifteen. Prior to the match he received two injections on either side of his ankle that deadened the leg from his toes to his knee. The treatment was risky as Doyle would have no way of knowing if his ankle broke. Towards the end of the game his ankle did give way, however, he couldn't be replaced as Tipperary used all their substitutes. The game itself was a close run thing, however, Tipp held on to win by 0–16 to 1–12.[11] It was Doyle's second All-Ireland medal, while he finished the championship as top scorer once again.

In 1962 Tipperary were still the kingpins of Munster as Doyle was appointed captain of the team. A 5–14 to 2–3 trouncing of Waterford in the decider gave him a fourth Munster medal.[12] Tipperary's nemesis of two years earlier, Wexford, waited in Croke Park to test them once again in the subsequent All-Ireland final on 2 September 1962. Wexford, however, were not the force of old and the side got off to possibly the worst start ever by a team in a championship decider. After just ninety seconds the Leinster champions were down by two goals, however, the game turned out to be much closer than people expected. Tipp eventually secured the win on a score line of 3–10 to 2–11, giving Doyle a third All-Ireland medal, as well as the honour of climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand to collect the Liam MacCarthy Cup. For the third year in-a-row he also ended the campaign as the championship's top scorer.

After losing the following year's Munster final to Waterford in one of the hurling shocks of the decade, Tipperary bounced back in 1964 with Doyle collecting a fifth National League medal. Tipperary later cantered casually past Cork by fourteen points in the provincial decider, giving Doyle a fifth Munster medal. The All-Ireland final on 6 September 1964 saw Kilkenny enter the game as firm favourites against Doyle's side. John "Mackey" McKenna scored Tipp's first goal after ten minutes as the Munster champions took a 1–8 to 0–6 interval lead. The second half saw Tipperary score goals for fun, with Donie Nealon getting a hat-trick and Seán McLoughlin another. Kilkenny were humiliated at the full-time whistle as Tipperary triumphed by 5–13 to 2–8.[13] It was Doyle's fourth All-Ireland medal. Once again he finished as the championship's top scorer.

In 1965 Doyle was captain for a second time and won a sixth National League medal as New York were narrowly defeated on an aggregate score of 6–19 to 5–20. Tipperary demolished all opposition in the provincial championship once again and a 4–11 to 0–5 trouncing of Cork gave Doyle a sixth Munster medal. Wexford were Tipp's opponents in the subsequent All-Ireland final on 5 September 1965, however, the game failed to live up to the two classic games between the two sides in 1960 and 1962. Victory went to Tipperary on that occasion by 2–16 to 0–10, courtesy of a brace of goals by Seán McLoughlin. The win gave Doyle a fifth All-Ireland medal, while he also entered a unique club of players who had collected the Liam MacCarthy Cup on more than one occasion. His performances also earned him the Texaco Hurler of the Year award.


After surrendering their provincial crown in 1966, Tipperary bounced back the following year, with Doyle winning a seventh Munster medal following a 4–12 to 2–6 defeat of Clare. 3 September 1967 saw Kilkenny face Tipperary in the All-Ireland decider. Tipp looked like continuing their hoodoo over their near rivals as they took a 2–6 to 1–3 lead at half-time. Goalkeeper Ollie Walsh was the hero for Kilkenny as he made a series of spectacular saves, however, the team lost Eddie Keher and Tom Walsh to injury in the second half. In spite of this, Kilkenny laid to rest a bogey that Tipperary had over the team since 1922, and a 3–8 to 2–7 victory resulted in defeat for Doyle's team.[14]

Doyle won a seventh National League medal in 1968 as New York were defeated on an aggregate score of 6–27 to 4–22. Tipperary retained their status as provincial kingpins once again and a 2–13 to 1–7 trouncing of Cork gave Doyle an eighth Munster medal. For the fourth time of the decade, Wexford were Tipp's opponents in the subsequent All-Ireland final on 1 September 1968. At half-time it looked as if Tipperary were cruising to another victory as they took an eight-point lead. Just after the restart Wexford had a Christy Jacob goal disallowed before Tony Doran scored a goal after just six minutes. Tipp fought back; however, it was too late as Wexford won by 5–8 to 3–12.

Last hurrah[edit]

By 1971 Doyle's career was drawing to a close. The back trouble that had dogged him throughout his life was taking its toll. Doyle lost his place on the starting fifteen for the start of the championship, however, he was back on the team for the Munster decider against Limerick. A 4–16 to 3–18 victory gave him a ninth Munster medal. On 5 September 1971 Kilkenny faced Tipperary in the All-Ireland final, the first to be broadcast in colour by Telefís Éireann and the only eighty-minute meeting between the two sides. Doyle started the game as a substitute. Kilkenny's ever-dependable goalkeeper, Ollie Walsh, had a nightmare of a game in which he conceded five goals, one of which passed through his legs, while that year's Hurler of the Year, "Babs" Keating, played out the closing stages of the game in his bare feet. Doyle came on as a substitute for the last ten minutes as Tipperary emerged the victors on a score line of 5–17 to 5–14. It was his sixth All-Ireland medal, making him one of only a handful of players to have claimed winners' medals in three separate decades.

Doyle continued to play for Tipperary for the next two years but time was now running out. Broken fingers, ankles, knuckles, collar bones and premature arthritis meant that he was no longer able to command an automatic place on the team.

In 1973 the regular Tipperary goalkeeper, Tadhg Murphy, was forced to emigrate to England. With no other goalkeeper available Doyle was asked to play in goal. Although reluctant he lined out between the posts in the Munster quarter and semi-final victories over Waterford and Cork. Murphy returned for the Munster final against Limerick and Doyle was dropped to the substitutes' bench. Tipp lost the game and Doyle retired from inter-county hurling shortly afterwards.


Doyle also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial hurling championship where he played alongside his championship rivals Christy Ring, Tom Cheasty and Jimmy Smyth. He first played for his province in 1958 as Munster defeated Leinster to take the Railway Cup title. It was the first of four Railway Cup titles in-a-row for Doyle and for Munster. After defeat by Leinster in 1962 Doyle was appointed captain of the side in 1963. After a replay a winner was found as Munster triumphed over Leinster. Three years later in 1966 Doyle was captain again as he collected a sixth winners' medal in the competition. He won his last two Railway Cup medals in 1969 and 1970 as Munster recorded respective victories over Connacht and Leinster.

Post-playing career[edit]

Replica of the Liam McCarthy Cup, presented to Jimmy Doyle by Ballygarvan GAA (home of the parents of Liam McCarthy) in 2004.

In retirement from playing Doyle remained close to the game. In the 1980s he took charge of the Laois senior hurling team, but enjoyed little success as a coach.

After his playing days had ended Doyle also came to be regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time. His huge scoring records, coupled with his deadly accuracy meant that he was an automatic choice for a special Hurling Team of the Century, picked in 1984 to mark the centenary year of the Gaelic Athletic Association. In 1999 he was picked on the Hurling Team of the Millennium, thus cementing his reputation as one of the greatest players of all-time.

On 13 March 2008 Doyle was profiled on the TG4 television programme Laochra Gael.



Thurles CBS
Thurles Sarsfield's
Thurles Croke's



  • Railway Cup:
    • Winner (8): 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1966, 1969, 1970
    • Runner-up (3): 1962, 1964, 1965


  1. ^ Doody, Derry J. F. "Vintage Gaels: Jimmy Doyle". Vintage Gaels website. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Jimmy Doyle". Premierview website. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Jimmy Doyle in RTE Hurlings Top 20". New Ross Standard. 25 September 2002. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Jimmy Doyle". Hogan Stand website. 10 April 2001. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Fullam, Brendan (2002). Captains of the Ash. Wolfhound Press. p. 74. 
  6. ^ "Together again, legendary Harty heroes of 1956". Tipperary Star. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "History of Thurles Sarsfield's". Thurles Sarsfield's GAA website. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "The greatest minor hurler?". Irish Examiner. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Munster's big day in a special year". Hogan Stand website. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Galway aim to avoid not so magnificent 7". Irish Independent. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Diarmuid, O'Flynn (20 May 2011). "What might have been...". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Munster hurling final day still a huge attraction". Hogan Stand website. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship". Munster GAA website. 5 September 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  14. ^ Stapleton, Shane (3 September 2010). "Famous Five: Tipperary-Kilkenny All Ireland finals". Eircom Sports website. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Matt Hassett
Tipperary Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Seán McLoughlin
Preceded by
Mick Murphy
Tipperary Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Tony Wall
Preceded by
Georgie Leahy
Laois Senior Hurling Manager
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Pat Ryan
All-Ireland Minor Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Paddy Cobbe
Preceded by
Matt Hassett
All-Ireland Senior Hurling
winning captain

Succeeded by
Séamus Cleere
Preceded by
Noel Drumgoole
Interprovincial Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Séamus Cleere
Preceded by
Mick Murphy
All-Ireland Senior Hurling
winning captain

Succeeded by
Gerald McCarthy
Preceded by
Paddy Moran
Interprovincial Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Ollie Walsh
Preceded by
John Doyle
Texaco Hurler of the Year
Succeeded by
Justin McCarthy