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Marking Christy Ring Was A Huge Feat But Tommy Doyle Was Also One Of Tipp's
The hurling legend that is Tommy Doyle, born 1915, died 1988, was one of Tipperary’s greatest-ever hurlers and his senior inter county career spanned from 1930s until the 1950s. His club was the famous Thurles Sarsfields and he was a pivotal player for a great number of county senior successes that made this Tipperay club a household name wherever hurling was spoken.
Tommy won his first senior county title in 1935 and historically, it was the clubs first county title also. As 1939 ended, the Thurles club had acquired three further titles, 1936/38/39. The decade of the 1940’s brought four county senior hurling titles, 1942/44/45/46 and he claimed his ninth and final county senior medal in 1952.
In 1933 Tipp minors claimed the All Ireland title with Tommy a key player and he made a great impression on the senior management in that journey, which resulted in his promotion to the senior team. He won a Munster title in 1937 and then played in his first All-Ireland final at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.
Tipp outscored Kilkenny by a whopping 17 points margin. Three years later Tipperary were excluded from the Munster championship because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the county. As a result of this, Cork were declared Munster champions and went on to win the All-Ireland title. In the delayed Munster final, Tipp beat a Cork team who were criticised by many for their lack lustre approach to the final. In 1945 Tipp, with Tommy Doyle now a major player, won a third Munster title, which allowed him to make a second All-Ireland final appearance. Tipp again outplayed Kilkenny and Doyle won a second All-Ireland medal.
In 1949, now aged 34, Tommy was seriously contemplating giving up inter-county hurling and when the regular Tipp corner back was forced out through illness, Tipp selectors persuaded Tommy to take the corner back position and mark the great Christy Ring. That comeback placed into hurling folklore the outstanding feat of Tommy holding the Cork maestro scoreless from play, over two and a half hours of fierce hurling combat.
Cork were finally defeated in the marathon and Doyle went on to win a fourth Munster medal. The Munster champions later played Laois in the All Ireland championship decider and Doyle, the comeback hero, collected a third All-Ireland medal. In 1950 he added a National Hurling League medal to his collection. He later won a fifth Munster title and subsequently played in another All-Ireland final. The dominance over Kilkenny continued as Tommy Doyle won his fourth All-Ireland medal.
In 1951 Tipp continued their provincial dominance and Doyle added a sixth and final Munster medal to his historic collection. In September Tipp went on to defeat Wexford in a thrilling championship decider, giving Doyle his fifth and final All Ireland medal. He won a second National League medal in 1952 and subsequently retired from inter-county hurling.
Doyle also won Railway Cup medals with Munster in 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1948 and 1950.
Derry JF Doody