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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 15 May 2021

A life-changing injury, night terrors, and resigning from the Gardaí to pursue the Olympic dream

Brendan Doyle’s road to representing Ireland at the Olympics has only just begun, but it’s only by luck that he has the chance.


ONE NIGHT IN 2009, Brendan Doyle clocked in for his shift at about 9.30pm.

“It was a Thursday,” he recalls. “I’ll never forget it.”

Doyle had joined An Garda Síochána upon finishing school and had a grá for the job – for helping people. On this Thursday, he had only just arrived at the barracks when he was assigned to respond to an incident in a house.

The events of that night left Doyle injured in hospital and ultimately saw him resign from the Gardaí as he battled depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Brendan sat down with The42 to tell us about his struggles and his journey in skeleton.

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The years that followed have been a long and tough road for Doyle, who fought back from the brink to narrowly miss out on qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in the sport of skeleton.

More determined than ever, he has now set his sights on the Beijing Winter Olympics of 2022.

This year is a pivotal year in Doyle’s preparation for the next Olympics. Offered the opportunity to train with the Canadian team, he has to raise funds to follow his dream and as such, is actively seeking sponsorship.  

As he says, getting funding for just the year of the Olympics is “like getting a textbook the night before the exam. You just get to see how much you don’t know.”

He is also selling merchandise and raising funds on his website and on Pledgesports.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email
  • National Suicide Helpline 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email – (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

About the author:

Eoin Lúc Ó Ceallaigh

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