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'It changed the whole outlook when Mick O'Dwyer arrived. He was the Messiah of football at the time'

Kildare’s football great Johnny Doyle is this week’s guest on the Warriors podcast.

14 YEARS AS an inter-county senior footballer, an All-Star winner and a Leinster champion.

That helped to build the impressive CV for Kildare’s Johnny Doyle, this week’s guest on Warriors, the GAA podcast for members of The42.

mick-odwyer-and-glen-ryan-1282000 Mick O'Dwyer celebrates Kildare's 2000 Leinster final triumph. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Johnny chatted through with us the three favourite games from his GAA career.

  • 1998 Leinster final when he was a Kildare supporter
  • 2000 Leinster final replay when he was a Kildare player
  • 2004 Kildare county final when he starred for his club Allenwood

He started out in the Kildare senior ranks during a brilliant time for the county’s fortunes and apportions much of the credit for their rise to the sideline figurehead at the time.

As both a supporter and player, Doyle witnessed the transformative impact Mick O’Dwyer could have as a manager.

“We’d be looked at as a different county as we would have been back then. The real catalyst for all of that was Mick O’Dwyer coming to Kildare. It changed the whole outlook on football when Mick O’Dwyer arrived. He was the Messiah of football at the time.

“Obviously coming from Kerry after winning eight All-Irelands, his pedigree as a player was second to none. He knew football, he knew players and he got the best out of players. Certainly he got the best out of Kildare. A little bit unlucky not to land Sam Maguire but certainly, there was nobody like Mick O’Dwyer.”

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john-doyle Johnny Doyle in action for Kildare in the 2000 Leinster final replay Source: Patrick Bolger/INPHO

Doyle talked about the standing ovation O’Dwyer received when introduced to the crowd at a club game in Newbridge when first appointed and how he ran 40 laps two nights after a county final loss in 1999 in an attempt to impress his new manager that had just drafted him into the Kildare squad.

There’s also tales of fans using keys to dig up the Croke Park pitch and Pat Spillane’s half-time criticism before Kildare’s remarkable comeback against Dublin in 2000.

Listen to the full interview by subscribing here and check out the back catalogue featuring episodes with Eddie Brennan, Declan Browne, Ken McGrath, Briege Corkery, Sean McMahon and Alan Kerins. 

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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