Death of club President, John J. Doyle.

November 8, 2018

PHOTO: John J Doyle in his playing days with the 1948 Clonmore team (in middle of front row). (Back L to R): Tom Byrne, Bill McDonald, Paddy  “Johnson” McDonald, “J” Connolly,  Denis Cullen, Bob Tallon, JJ Nelson. Front L to R : Mick Murray, Pakes Connolly, Andy McMahon, John Doyle, Billy Byrne, Matt Cullen, Paddy Wybrant. Players missing who were on team that won Junior Championship in 1950:  Mick Connolly, Ned McDonald, Jimmy Crowe, Johnny Kelly, Larry Kenny and John’s brother Benny.

A dedicated man at the heart of everything in his GAA club.

By PAUL DONAGHY, Carlow People, Tuesday June 22 2010.

NO SPORTING organisation can survive and progress without the dedication and sacrifice of many who make its heart tick; men and women who look beyond their own cubicle to advance their choice of sport and help in the promotion and development of the younger corps.


John J Doyle of Clonmore, who was buried on Wednesday, 16 June, was one of that phalanx, he having contributed immeasurably to his local club, Bord na nOg and the county administration, and of course his community. And he was one of the first welcoming faces this, then young, scribe met when arriving in a new county without any social or sporting connections – in a communications isolation for a spell if you like.


The John Doyles of sport don’t rant or boast, nor demand special treatment, but accept the democratic rule, but to me he was one of the gentlemen of sport in this county, quiet-spoken with never a sour word for those who did not share his opinion. He treated all with respect and never caused a breach of dignity in discussion; none leaving his company feeling the point had been lost.


John Doyle back then was Clonmore; its founder and heart; the fulcrum of everything which happened around Hacketstown. The man from Marian Terrace formed Clonmore GFC in ’47 in concert with Dan Donoghue then chairman, secretary Michael Donoghue, Larry Kenny, Michael Connolly, Jim Kehoe and Jim Doyle.


He was to the forefront of the purchase of the present venue – Woodside – from the Land Commission for a very favourable £1,200 in 1969; and after years of development the venue was officially opened by GAA president Paddy Buggy in 1984. John not only formed the club but was on the team which won the JFC in 1950; then the club’s premier fifteen. Their No. 11 soldiered for a decade but his career was on the wane just before Clonmore won back-to-back county senior championships in ’55 and ’56 defeating the powerful O’Hanrahans in both finals.


The No 11 jersey was draped on his coffin at his funeral as well as a county shirt identifying John’s contribution to the greater county good; his gift really through eight years as secretary of Bord na nOg and of course a term as assistant county secretary in the ’60s, and two stints as chairman, as well as acting as Carlow’s Leinster Council delegate.


He had an even a more influential role in Carlow in the late ’50s as a senior football selector (spanning a decade) which included the ’54 Carlow/Mayo National Football League final. Secretary of Clonmore GFC for a record 28 years, JJ was finally recognised, countywide, for his tremendous involvement when voted Hall of Fame winner by the Co. Carlow GAA selectors in ’91.

He guided Clonmore through several ‘homes’ including Vermount, Kilmacart and The Curragh; players having to cross the river to train at the second named field.


‘No job was too big or too small, and  when it came to levelling the new field at Woodside I was only the lad to John who did it all then,’ said fellow clubman Eddie Forde at John’s funeral. But there were other interests in the life of John J. Doyle.


President of Clonmore after his withdrawal from administrative roles, he was a member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association and involved in FAS employment locally and was an Eucharistic minister and for 44 years was a reader at the Easter Passion. One of his sons, Ger, was Clonmore’s excellent club PRO for many years, and for his contribution received the club’s member-of-the-year accolade for ’09; that recognition covering many years of Clonmore exposure.


In commercial life, John began his working career in Bagenalstown before returning to Hacketstown to manage Duffy’s Cash and Carry, subsequently taken over by Perry’s – a role he played for six decades.


It was fitting that his contribution to the formation of young talent and character should be acknowledged by a guard of honour of local boys and girls at his funeral.


John is survived by his wife Jane and brother Tommy (London) the youngest of the family (brothers Benny and Paddy predeceasing him), sons Sean, Peter, Joseph, Gerard and daughters Mary, Trudi, Joan, Majella and Fiona.