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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Rugby great Doyle killed
Mick Doyle
Mick Doyle won 20 Ireland caps and played for the Lions
Ireland rugby great Mick Doyle has been killed in a car crash.

The former Ireland coach and Lions star was involved in an accident near Quinn's Corner, outside Ballygawley in County Tyrone on Tuesday morning.

The 63-year-old Kerry native won 20 caps for Ireland between 1965 and 1968 and also represented the Lions.

However, he will be best remembered for coaching Ireland to their Triple Crown success in 1985 when his team played a memorable brand of attacking rugby.

Doyle had a larger-than-life personality and his death will cause huge sorrow throughout Irish sport.

He was born in the village of Currow in County Kerry - a location where his fellow Irish rugby internationals Moss Keane and Mick Galwey also hailed from.

During his rugby career, he played for Garryowen, Blackrock College, UCD, Cambridge University and Edinburgh Wanderers.

He had the distinction of never being dropped during his 20-cap international career as a flanker.

After his playing days ended, he managed Leinster for five highly successful seasons from 1979 to 1983.

During that time, the Province lost only one game out of twenty six played and claimed four Interprovincial titles.

In 1984, he took over as Ireland coach from Willie John McBride.

During his second season in charge, Ireland claimed the Triple Crown, playing a style of attacking rugby which the country had never previously attempted.

Doyle's mantra of "give it a lash" suited the talents perfectly of gifted backs such as Trevor Ringland, Hugo McNeill, Keith Crossan and Paul Dean.

He went on to coach Ireland at the 1987 World Cup in New Zealand but on that trip, he suffered a heart attack, which effectively ended his coaching career.

However, he then went to become a popular newspaper columnist and TV pundit.

Irish rugby will a lot quieter and duller without Mick Doyle
Trevor Ringland

He also published two acclaimed autobiographies which documented his highly-colourful life.

The second book concentrated on his recovery from a brain haemorrhage.

Former international winger Trevor Ringland, a member of the Triple Crown winning side Mick Doyle coached in 1985, remembered him as a "man of great character".

"I will always remember him turning to us before we took to the field before the first match against Scotland in the Triple Crown year saying: `Boys, I want you to run the ball and if it doesn't work, I want you to still run it'," said Ringland.

"That was the kind of coach he was. Mick was a motivator. He freed players up. He was inspirational.

"He motivated a group of young players to go out and do their best and we produced some of the best rugby an Irish team has ever produced.

"He was a great character and a great friend. Irish rugby will a lot quieter and duller without Mick Doyle and I know the Triple Crown side always looked forward to meeting him again at our reunions.

"Our thoughts go at this terrible time to his wife Mandy and his family."

BBC's Jim Neilly
"He was a larger-than-life character"

BBC's Natasha Sayee reports
"Mick Doyle was a hugely popular man"

O'Driscoll's Doyle tribute
11 May 04  |  Irish

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