Bray People

Doyle is con­fi­dent Carnew can de­liver

Cap­taincy a huge hon­our for Jack

- BREN­DAN LAWRENCE Sports Editor Sports · John Doyle · John Henderson · James Hickey · Jim Bob Duggar

THERE’S not a sin­gle per­son with even the slight­est bit of in­ter­est in the game of hurl­ing in Wicklow who won’t have been im­pressed by the per­for­mances of Jack Doyle in 2020.

Lock­down did him no harm given the phys­i­cal devel­op­ment he has un­der­went and his hurl­ing and courage are of an es­pe­cially high stan­dard since the first ball was thrown in.

James Hickey and his man­age­ment team were no doubt look­ing for some­one this young Carnew team would look up to and re­spect and in Jack Doyle they have a su­perb can­di­date. Qui­etly spo­ken and an ut­ter gen­tle­man off the field, it’s the hon­esty of ef­fort, the brav­ery and the pure sports­man­ship that stands out in the midst of bat­tle and Sun­day is likely to be no dif­fer­ent.

It hasn’t been the eas­i­est of years for Jack or his fam­ily. His fa­ther Jim Bob has been fight­ing a brave fight against ill­ness this past while and the young Carnew cap­tain has also had to con­tend with fin­ish­ing col­lege and start­ing out on a ca­reer as a pri­mary school teacher.

Hurl­ing peo­ple will know Jim Bob Doyle very well and ref­er­ees will be some­what fa­mil­iar with him as well but there was a par­tic­u­larly touch­ing mo­ment af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle of the semi-fi­nal when Jack Doyle ran the length of the pitch to the gate at the bot­tom cor­ner to warmly em­brace his fa­ther who had watched the bat­tle with Éire Óg from his car.

Hurl­ing to Jim Bob is like a re­li­gion and it’s no dif­fer­ent with Jack. It’s deep in their soul and Sun­day rep­re­sents a great oc­ca­sion given the un­fair­ness and in­equal­ity of life some­times as it hits us be­tween the eyes with heavy loads we weren’t ex­pect­ing.

Stand­ing in their way are Bray Em­mets, the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons. What’s Jack Doyle ex­pect­ing come 4.30pm in the county grounds.

‘Ex­pect­ing a mas­sive bat­tle, I sup­pose. Bray are county cham­pi­ons; they’ve been here be­fore. Ex­pect­ing a ti­tanic bat­tle re­ally. We’re con­fi­dent enough. I think we’ve played well in most matches this year. We’re cre­at­ing more chances than the last few years,’ said Jack, who added that the im­prove­ments they’ve shown un­der the guid­ance of James Hickey have brought them to a place where they can re­al­is­ti­cally chal­lenge for the ti­tle.

‘Def­i­nitely. When he came first, as a team I don’t think we were ready or ma­ture enough to win it. I think that there’s a group of us there now for four or five years and I think it’s time. James has in­stalled great be­lief in all of us. It’s time to make that next step and go

on and win it.

‘All the lads have mas­sive re­spect for him. The whole thing was built around re­spect and he’s in­stalled dis­ci­pline from the first day he came in. If you start to lose dis­ci­pline you won’t be play­ing. We have mas­sive re­spect for him. This year we promised him that we’d do our own ex­tra train­ing, put in an ex­tra ef­fort to go to that next level,’ said.

The cap­taincy of any team is a sig­nif­i­cant hon­our. Some will laugh it off as just go­ing up for the toss but in the modern game it’s much more than that. Jack Doyle doesn’t laugh it off.

‘James came to me one day af­ter train­ing and asked me if I’d like to be cap­tain. I said I would. It’s a mas­sive hon­our, even as a child grow­ing up that’s what you want to do. Es­pe­cially if you can cap­tain your team and win the county fi­nal. That’s the big one.

‘It hasn’t changed any­thing for me. There are loads of lead­ers on that team al­ready. Even the last day in the semi-fi­nal, like John Doyle Snr, Daire Fo­ley, Padraig Do­ran, Martin O’Brien. I don’t feel any pres­sure. I re­ally en­joy it. I prob­a­bly talk a bit more and con­tact lads for dif­fer­ent rea­sons but noth­ing too ma­jor,’ he said.

This Carnew side are a vastly dif­fer­ent one than the team who lost out to Gle­nealy in 2018. In 2020, they wel­come six play­ers up from Mi­nor. They’re pro­vided a wel­come boost both in games and in train­ing.

‘A breath of fresh air. We’ve won a good few Mi­nors in the last six or seven years but we just weren’t get­ting them through but last year’s team we’ve got loads from. The train­ing has been bril­liant, the com­pe­ti­tion for places is se­ri­ous. The lev­els have just come up be­cause they are all very good hurlers,’ said Jack.

‘Some­times you might think that young lads com­ing up to adult that they might get bul­lied but they are well able to hold their own out there. There are no is­sues in that re­gard,’ he added.

Against Éire Óg, Carnew got a ma­jor test that while they were al­ways in con­trol of on the score­board were never re­sall;y free of the at­tack­ing threat that Ea­monn Scallan’s men bring to the party.

‘They had the wind in the first half. They kind of hit a lot of stupid ball. They had the two lads in­side and they didn’t use them like we thought they would. They were prob­a­bly kick­ing them­selves when they looked back at the match.

‘I think we got the match ups right, to be fair to James Hickey. Andy Hughes had a re­ally good game out the field. We al­ways had a small lead but it was a tough, tough bat­tle be­cause you were al­ways wary of that threat,’ he said.

What are Jack Doyle and Carnew ex­pect­ing from this Bray out­fit? Where are they strong and where can Carnew hurt them?

‘They’re county cham­pi­ons. They’ve lads all over the field who can hurt you if you let them hurl. Es­pe­cially their for­wards, Christy has been do­ing it for the last 10 years, Mikey Boland, Davy Maloney this year is hurl­ing well, and ob­vi­ously John Hen­der­son at cen­tre back is a huge launch pad for them and he’s mas­sive for them. They’ve a good mid­field as well with Padraig Doyle.

‘We be­lieve that we have the backs that can, not stop them, but hold them to as lit­tle as pos­si­ble. Our backs, even in train­ing, it’s very hard to get scores off them. And up front, we have for­wards that on pa­per, if they hit form, they could re­ally hurt a team. We haven’t scored goals this year but there are goals in them. We know what Enda can do, and John Doyle Jnr and Owen Young.

‘Look, it comes down to on the day and who­ever wants it more. They’re favourites and rightly so, they’ve walked over ev­ery team apart from Gle­nealy,’ he said.

Ahead of the big game on Sun­day it would be re­miss of us to ask about Jim Bob.

‘Things are good now. He’s in re­mis­sion. He’s go­ing well. He’s so pas­sion­ate. Af­ter the Éire Óg match, that week he was low in terms of en­ergy lev­els but af­ter that game it was like some­one gave him a dif­fer­ent drug. He was high as a kite. It was like that was the drug that he needed.

‘If there’s any­one in Carnew who wants to win it, it’s him. You can still hear him from the side­line. You want to do it for him and for the fam­ily,’ said Jack Doyle.

 ??  ?? Jack Doyle in ac­tion against Éife Óg.
Jack Doyle in ac­tion against Éife Óg.

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