cruel catalogue of injuries has limited Liam Doyle to a bit part
role with the Mourne County in recent years but he is eager to make
up for lost time.
The son of 1968 All-Ireland winning centre-back Willie Doyle sustained
a cruciate ligament injury in the 2008 Ulster championship clash
against Armagh in Clones that confined him to the sidelines for
He missed out on Downs march to the 2010 Sam Maguire Cup decider
but made a welcome return to the county fold the following year.
In 2012 he started at left half-forward in the 0-13 to 2-18 Ulster
SFC final defeat to Donegal before featuring as a substitute in
the 2-9 to 3-18 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final loss at the hands
Liam Doyle in action against Donegal's Davei Walsh
injury jinx struck again during the recent Dr McKenna Cup game against
Armagh but he has since returned to training and is looking forward
to getting back out onto the field as James McCartans men
aim to recover from three opening round league defeats against Donegal,
Tyrone and Cork.
We were disappointed with the second half against Donegal,
he told hoganstand.com. We wasted a couple of good goal scoring
opportunities. If we had converted one of them the end result might
have been different.
We need to be more clinical and ruthless. A couple of efforts
fell into their goalkeepers hands and Donegal are a team that
are going to punish you if you dont take your chances.
We dominated for large parts of the first half against Tyrone
but, again, that wasnt reflected in the scoreboard.
We always feel we can get something out of our games, especially
at home, but Tyrone got the scores at vital times.
We have to put our heads down and work hard. Were under
pressure after the first two league games. Its a very competitive
division and everyone is fighting for points. Who would have thought
Kerry would lose their opening three league games?
The defeats to Donegal and Tyrone were bitter pills to swallow but
paled into insignificance compared to the third round 1-17 to 3-12
reversal at the hands of holders Cork in Esler Park.
Ciaran Sheehans injury-time goal robbed victory from under
the Mourne Countys noses but, again, there were plenty of
encouraging signs for the team in red and black.
Their injury problems are well documented with other influential
performers such as Dan Gordan, Ambrose Rogers and Danny Hughes also
restricted to the treatment table.
They will need a clean bill of health for their Anglo Celt Cup opener
against Derry on Sunday, June 2.
Mourne County fell at the final hurdle last July in their bid to
win a first Anglo Celt Cup title since
Were taking every game as it comes, replied Liam
when quizzed on Downs ambitions for the championship. It
was very disappointing how last year finished up. We suffered two
heavy defeats against Donegal and Mayo and now we have the opportunity
to rectify that.
Every team has ambitions to win the Ulster title and were
no different. We have a tough opener against Derry but if everyone
if available and fit then we would have confidence in our ability.
Equally at home in defence or attack, Liam captained the Mourne
County to All-Ireland minor glory in 1999 and graduated onto the
senior team the following year.
He won a Sigerson Cup with Jordanstown in 2001, won a Railway Cup
medal in 2003 and captained his county team two years later.
The cruciate ligament injury halted his gallop but hes keeping
his fingers crossed for an injury-free 2013.
Things are also looking up on the club front for Liam and Liatroim
Fontenoys who secured promotion to Division 1.
Were delighted to be back playing against the top teams.
There is a new structure in Down this year with 16 teams so well
see how it goes. We have good young lads coming through and there
is no better place for them to learn than in Division 1.
Down are learning the hard way in Division 1 at the moment but,
with a full compliment available to them, they will be a force to
be reckoned with come the real business of championship time.