Johnny Doyle hopes Ben McCormack is available to Kildare

Selector concedes they will have to work without Kevin Feely for much of 2023

John Doyle is hopeful that Ben McCormack will be available for the Kildare footballers in 2023.

It had been reported the All-Star nominated forward was planning to travel to Australia and so would not be lining out with Glenn Ryan’s side next season. However, Doyle — who is a selector with the Lilywhites — says the management team still believe McCormack will be part of their plans next year.

“There are lots of rumours going around about Ben,” says Doyle. “There was talk of him going travelling, but we’d be hopeful that he’ll have a white jersey on him next year, all things going well.”

But Doyle concedes they will have to work without Kevin Feely for much of 2023. The dynamic midfielder suffered an Achilles tendon injury recently and it would appear a return at some point during the championship might be a best-case scenario.


“His Achilles snapped so it’s going to take him a while. I’m not sure of a time frame. Kevin is one of these players that if you say four weeks, he’ll be back in three.

“So you’re probably going to talk about championship time, all going well. Listen, it’s how it heals, it’s a serious enough injury but he will do everything he can to get back. He’s very driven from that point of view. His own profession is based around physiotherapy and that side of stuff, so he knows exactly what he’s at and what he has to do.

“Please God, it’ll be sooner rather than later. But you’re talking about missing the league and maybe the early part of the championship.”

Among Kildare’s ambitions next year will be to secure promotion back to Division One in the league, but Doyle is not totally in favour of the current split season model. The former Kildare forward feels the intercounty season is too condensed in the format that was operational this year.

“Personally, I would like the inter-county to be spread out that little bit,” suggests Doyle. “From an injuries point of view, when you are involved it does seem very rushed, but they are trying to get the balance right I suppose and you have to try and keep as many people as happy as possible.

“I certainly think that the middle of August would be time enough to start our club championship, but again that is easy for me to say when I am involved in intercounty management at the moment.

“We all look at our own scenario and try to do what is right for us and still as a club player still, I do see the benefit of knowing when our club championship is definitely going to start, but whether we like it or not the big gig in town is our senior inter-county championship. Whether we like it or not, people want to see the best player and they are all playing intercounty.

“It does not mean you valuing one more than the next, club over county, I would not suggest that for a minute because without one you don’t have the other. But that is the reality of it, the back pages of all the papers are about intercounty and the top games. Kids wants to see the likes of David Clifford and Daniel Flynn and that is just the way it is.

“I was at the intermediate final at the weekend and there were loads of good footballers but everyone was around Jimmy Hyland. Everyone wanted their picture taken with Jimmy Hyland.”

John Doyle was speaking at the announcement of the 2022 Beko Club Champion competition winners, a competition which seeks to reward the hard work of volunteers throughout the province. To view the list of winners in full go to

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times