Doyle very determined to finally end Down’s title famine
Liam Doyle has a particular reason for hoping that Down can end their Ulster title famine by overcoming Donegal in Sunday’s decider at Clones.
The Liatroim Fontenoys clubman is one of three members of the current squad involved in Down’s bid to land the 2003 title when they reached the final only to fall to Tyrone after a replay.
Now Doyle, who has endured protracted spells of injuries and just recently completed a lengthy rehabilitation programme following a cruciate ligament problem, is particularly anxious to see Down collect what would be a first title since 1984.
“Benny Coulter, Dan Gordon and me were in the side that were beaten in that 2003 final by Mickey Harte’s team and we have not had a sniff of the Ulster title since then. Sunday represents a big chance for us and we want to make the most of it,” said the 31-year-old Doyle, who is equally adept either in defence or attack.
Like his Down colleagues, Doyle has watched Armagh and Tyrone dominate the Ulster Championship over the past 10 years and feels it is time the Mournemen emerged from the wilderness.
“I thought this Down team showed tremendous character in coming back so well against Monaghan in the semi-final,” he said.
“We had to double the work-rate after the interval and especially when Tommy Freeman got that out of the blue goal which was allowed to stand.
“Fair play to the boys, they put in a massive 35 minutes after having been down nine points in the first-half. We were very happy to get into the Ulster final and now we want to make the most of our opportunity on Sunday.”
Doyle played in two challenge games prior to the semi and as a late sub it marked a significant step forward in his rehabilitation.
“I’ve worked very hard since that game and if James McCartan feels I can do a job on Sunday, I will be delighted to do so. Every player in Down wants to pull on the county jersey especially for an Ulster final,” he said.
“I am still very hungry to be playing county football. It’s the level that you want to be at and now that we have the chance of winning a major honour we want to make the most of it.
“The Down fans are buzzing and we want to try and deliver the Anglo Celt trophy for them.”