Jimmy Doyle Boy Wonder of Hurling is the biography of legendary Tipperary hurler, Jimmy Doyle
Jimmy was born in Thurles, birthplace of the GAA, on March 20th, 1939. He grew up just around the corner from the famed Semple Stadium, and lived in the town his whole life.
His father and uncle had won All-Irelands with Tipperary, and Jimmy’s aptitude for the small-ball game was evident from an early age at Thurles CBS. Having honed his skills in the shadow of Semple, he made the Tipperary minor team aged just 14, and would later debut for the seniors at 18, one of the youngest ever (he also won a first county title with Sarsfields as a mere stripling of 16).
His first appearance at Croke Park ended in defeat to Dublin – Jimmy played in goals – but happier days, and a move to the forwards, lay ahead. He won three minor All-Irelands in a row, and senior success soon followed.
Having straddled underage and adult grades briefly, his senior championship bow came in defeat to Cork in 1957. Within a year, though, Doyle landed his first league, provincial and All-Ireland medals, defeating Galway in the last final and ending that campaign as top scorer for good measure.
Many more honours were to come, as part of the legendary Tipp side of the 1960s: possibly the most dominant team ever until the recent all-conquering Kilkenny group, they and Jimmy won Liam MacCarthy four years out of five, with just a freak defeat to Waterford in 1963 preventing a likely five-in-a-row.
His last title came in 1971 (coincidentally, also Tipp’s last for nearly two decades). Doyle continued to play for two more years, but a series of injuries – broken bones, back trouble and premature arthritis – eventually forced his retirement in 1973. He later indulged in a little coaching with Laois.
Since retirement, the honours continued to amass. In 2008 Jimmy was featured on the popular TG4 programme Laochra Gael. A year later, as part of the GAA 125 celebrations, he was chosen as the Tipperary representative in a commemorative torch parade through Thurles on the day of the Munster final. In 2012 a road was named in his honour in his hometown, where he had worked in the local Assumption Hospital for many years (he also, in his youth, spent some time as a cobbler, which was his father’s trade).
Jimmy was heavily involved with the writing of this book and saw it to completion but sadly his unexpected death came just as it was about to be published. Jimmy Doyle Boy Wonder of Hurling is a fitting tribute to one of hurling’s greatest exponents.