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Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO Teddy Doyle of Tipperary.
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'Strange' feeling of putting on Tipperary jersey and switching allegiances from Kerry
At 29-years-old, Teddy Doyle made his senior inter-county debut this year for his adopted team.

THE TIPPERARY TEAM to face Carlow in this weekend’s Tailteann Cup first round clash will contain two Kerry natives: Teddy Doyle in attack and Sean O’Connell in defence. 

O’Connell is a former Kerry minor captain and U21 player, while Doyle never lined out for the county at underage level. He did however, represent his club on two occasions in Croke Park, helping Templenoe to All-Ireland junior success in 2016 before their loss in the intermediate decider in 2020. 

The pair are among some 15 sons of the Kingdom featuring for other counties this season. 

They joined David Power’s squad this season, strengthening the hand of a Tipperary squad that has been decimated since their Munster success in 2020. 

For Doyle, his links with the Premier County are strong. He got married in January to a Tipperary women and has been living in the county for six years. After travelling back home to play for Templenoe since then, he decided to transfer to Ballina.

The couple recently bought a house in the locality. Roots are set down for long-term. 

A Garda in Limerick city, Doyle said the move to leave his home club wasn’t easy. 

“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve done,” he says of leaving Templenoe. “Leaving your club is obviously something no fella ever wants to do but such is life. I wasn’t doing myself justice I don’t think, playing with my club the way I was.

“The commute was too much. I wasn’t making training as often as I could have and I just couldn’t keep it up. It was difficult leaving but I’ve a new club in Ballina in Tipperary.

“In fairness before I even started playing with them, they were very welcoming, inviting me to training sessions and anything else that was going on in the club. I’m lucky to have found a new club in Ballina.”

teddy-doyle-with-shane-timlin Tommy Grealy / INPHO Doyle in action during the 2016 All-Ireland JFC club final. Tommy Grealy / INPHO / INPHO

When the opportunity arrived to test himself at inter-county level, he jumped at it. 

He credits Clare man Joe Hayes with alerting Power that Doyle was open to giving it a go with Tipperary. Doyle was playing Sigerson Cup for the Garda College, who Hayes was involved with. He also had a role in the Premier backroom team and suggested that Power approach him. 

“That’s where it came from. I got in training with them and that’s how it got started. Thankfully David kept me on this year and it’s good so far.

“So I just decided time is pushing on, it isn’t on my side. David Power gave me the chance to come in with Tipp so I said I’d take it and see where it goes.

“I’m there to try and push myself as far as I can go. They could see that once I came in. I had a good attitude and went about my business in the right way. They were very welcoming in that way.

“There’s a great squad and management team there so it was easy enough to transition into the dressing room. As intimidating and all as it can be, I still found it quite easy. They made it easy for me.

“It’s been a huge step-up. I thought I was fairly committed to my club travelling up and down as often as I was. But I’m nearly on the road a lot more now that I’m with Tipperary.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into it. I’ve a new-found respect for the inter-county scene and inter-county panels, players and management. It takes a lot of time and effort. There is a bit of stress involved. There is a jump in standard, definitely.”

The 29-year-old reflects on the experience of putting on the Tipperary jersey for the first time.

“I never played for Kerry so I don’t have that to look back on. It was good excitement to put on an inter-county jersey and get to play inter-county football and put yourself at the highest standard you can get to.

teddy-doyle Lorraine O’Sullivan / INPHO Doyle in possession during the Division 4 final. Lorraine O’Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

“It was strange alright but I’m a Tipp man now. I’m living in Tipp and I’ll embrace the Tipp colours.”

Doyle came up against his former club-mate Pat Spillane Jr earlier this year when Tipperary hosted Sligo in Division 4. 

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“We crossed paths in the league, we played them in Thurles. I spoke to him after the game. It’s all about playing football at the highest standard you can play at. Pat had the opportunity to play with Sligo.

“It’s definitely something we can relate to and talk about. It’s good to see guys doing something like that, you always want to push yourself as far as you can go. In fairness to Pat he’s doing that with Sligo.”

Tipperary’s Munster semi-final defeat to Limerick is still fresh on the memory as they look to bounce back with a run in the Tailteann Cup. 

“We were gutted to lose to Limerick,” he says. “Particularly the way we did. We didn’t do ourselves justice. We underperformed, definitely. I don’t think we’ve performed in that manner all year really.

“Maybe bar the first couple of league games, but we’ve been going well since. We were disappointed to lose it in that way but the other side is we don’t have time now to be feeling sorry for ourselves. We have to get ready for the next championship match.

“We’ve a good management team there that won’t let us walk around with our heads down. It’s shoulder to the wheel now again.”

To win the second tier competition in Croke Park and seal a place in next season’s Sam Maguire is a great source of motivation to the squad, says Doyle.

“Every fella that’s playing inter-county, you have that winning mentality. You want to win and we’re no different. We want to win. If you can win the competition you’re telling yourself that you’re good enough to go into the Sam Maguire next year and if not you are where you are.

“Our aim is obviously to win the competition. Win our first game first and see how we go. But we’ll be hoping to go well in the competition.”

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