Eoin Doyle quiet on inter-county future as Naas takes full focus

"The body is creaking a bit more than other years. We'll see. That (decision) is for after the club campaign anyway," says Doyle.
Eoin Doyle quiet on inter-county future as Naas takes full focus

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Naas football captain Eoin Doyle during the launch of the 2023 AIB GAA Leinster Senior Club Championship Finals at Croke Park. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

In his early 30s and with a young family, you can hardly blame Eoin Doyle for kicking to touch about his inter-county plans for 2024.

Injuries have been an issue for the defender in recent times too but, truth be told, the Championship draw could be part of the reason for his reticence.

If results go as many would anticipate then Kildare will face Dublin at Croke Park in another Leinster final and, not to put too fine a point on it, can Doyle possibly take any more capital punishment?

He's playing for Kildare over a decade now and six times in that period, between the National League and Championship, he has played against Dublin in Croke Park.

The best result he's encountered was last summer's two-point Leinster semi-final defeat, the worst a 5-18 to 0-14 drubbing at the same stage in 2015.

In all, the Kildare teams that Doyle played on in those six games between 2013 and 2023 lost to Dublin by a cumulative margin of 65 points.

Meanwhile, on club duty with Naas, their 2021 and 2022 Leinster campaigns ended in seven and nine-point defeats to Dublin champions Kilmacud Crokes.

They will face them for the third season running today in the provincial decider and should defeat be Doyle's lot again, you couldn't blame him for turning his nose up at the prospect of another Dublin date next summer in Kildare colours.

"We'll see what happens next year," shrugged Doyle, captain of the Lilywhites for the 2017 and 2019 Championship defeats to Dublin.

"The body is creaking a bit more than other years. We'll see. That (decision) is for after the club campaign anyway. My sole focus is on Naas and just trying to keep going. We'll dust ourselves down whenever that finishes up, and hopefully it won't be for a while, but we'll look at that then."

Croke Park hasn't been a happy hunting ground generally for Kildare over the years with Dublin teams, conversely, luxuriating in their home comforts there.

Kilmacud Crokes captain Shane Cunningham has insisted that the venue won't be a particular advantage to either side this time but it certainly won't favour Naas who still haven't won a game there in normal time. The 2021 semi-final win over Shelmaliers only came after extra-time.

Doyle is looking at it differently, that they're gaining vital experience all the time and he pointed to their recent battling win over Loman's, also after extra-time.

"Two years ago, against Shelmaliers, we had a similar experience, a semi-final where it went to extra-time and all these little things add up," he said.

"It's the same for Crokes who lost one (a Leinster final, 2018) narrowly, then they've won the last couple, then they lost an All-Ireland narrowly and then they came back and won that.

"So you've got experience on both sides of it, both losing and winning. Look, if you use it right, experience can be great."

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