Johnny Doyle bows out on a winning note for Kildare
Veteran announces retirement as his side end losing run by ruthlessly disposing of Westmeath
John Doyle: turned 36 earlier this year and made 154 appearances for Kildare at senior level. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Kildare 1-22 Westmeath 0-9
Kildare veteran Johnny Doyle has announced his retirement from intercounty football following his side’s ruthless disposal of Westmeath .
Doyle returned to the Lilywhite fold late this season, after his wife had given birth to twins late last year and made two substitute appearances in the league, including yesterday’s 10-minute cameo.
“I make this decision very reluctantly but do so based on my family commitments” he said in a statement last night.
“It has been a great privilege for me to have worn the Kildare jersey for the past 15 years and a wonderful honour to have soldiered with and against so many great players.
“This commitment has shaped me as a person and Kildare football has been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. However, I am confident that now is the right time to close this chapter and move on to an exciting period in my life.”
Doyle turned 36 earlier this year and made 154 appearances for Kildare at senior level, with only four of those coming as a substitute.
Yesterday’s result ended a run of five successive defeats for the Lilywhites. Kildare laid out their intentions from the early stages and scored the game’s first three points inside the opening nine minutes.
Two of those scores came from Darroch Mulhall and he went on to score a total of seven by the end of the game. His seven point haul brought his total to 1-28 for the seven league games.
Although Westmeath hit two points in quick succession to leave the gap at one, they would only score one more point in a pretty dismal first half for Paul Bealin’s team.
Kildare found it easy to pick off scores and they capped off an excellent first half when Cathal McNally netted in first -half injury time following a superb Tommy Moolick pass.
The home team led 1-9 to 0-3 at half-time but there was no let up in the second half and Jason Ryan was able to bring on three players from the bench who contributed on the scoresheet.
Seán Hurley kicked a couple of spectacular scores in his three point tally but the biggest cheer of the day was saved for the appearance of Doyle.
Kildare really picked up the scoring rate in the closing 15 minutes outscoring Westmeath by 0-7 to 0-3.
Although this pair will be playing their league football in Division Two next year, they could yet meet in a Leinster quarter-final later and if that comes to pass, Kildare have laid down a serious marker.
KILDARE: S Connolly; M O’Grady, M Foley, P Kelly; F Conway (0-1), G White, K Cribbin; T Moolick, H Lynch ; C McNally (1-1), P O’Neill (0-2), P Cribbin, N Kelly (0-5), P Brophy (0-1), D Mulhall (0-7, 4fs). Subs: S Hurley (0-3) for P Cribbin (half-time); D Hyland for P Kelly (bc. 42 mins); F Dowling (0-1) for Brophy (55 mins); E Callaghan (0-1) for Lynch (63 mins); J Doyle for McNally (63 mins); E Bolton for Conway (65 mins).
WESTMEATH: S Gallagher; S Gilmore, K Gavin, K Maguire; S Flynn, P Sharry, K Daly; D Duffy, R Connellan; C McCormack (0-1), G Egan (0-3, 1f, one’45), K Martin; J Dolan, D Dolan, D Glennon (0-4. 3fs). Subs: J Gilligan for Gavin (15 mins); A Giles 0-1 for D Dolan (32 mins); J Gonoud for Gilmore (half-time); D Harte for Daly (50 mins); D McCormack for Martin (53 mins); R Foley for C McCormack (65 mins).
Referee: Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary).