Four-time All-Star Colm Boyle detailed two major setbacks which helped him become the player revered by Mayo and GAA fans alike.
Speaking to Colm Parkinson on his new podcast Smaller Fish GAA, Boyle revealed that he lost confidence in himself in his early days in the green and red jersey.
Boyle was taken off early in both the 2006 U21 All-Ireland final against Cork and the 2008 Connacht SFC final against Galway. The Davitts man said he lost confidence, but he feels looking back on it, he wasn’t ready physically for senior inter-county football.
“We actually played Cork in the All-Ireland U21 final, like I always small, but I was really light then. I was basically like a child and I was marking Fintan Gould and he was a man mountain and I had a really bad experience. And I think I was gone at half-time or whatever it was, but we won the game thankfully. I think that definitely scarred me after that.
“Fast forward a year or two and I’m on the senior panel and even in that Connacht final, I probably still wasn’t ready physically or mentally. So I suppose the two big games that time were on TV and everyone is watching and you’re whipped before and at half-time in both games, it had a huge effect on me. I think I was dropped then. I was actually involved in 2009 for the league but I was dropped straight after, didn’t get any game-time.
Boyle realised that he needed to build his body up to be able for the physical challenges of modern football, which he did.
“I was playing for the club and I was playing really poorly. I wasn’t doing the work required to be honest. I know it’s not that long ago, it was 2009, but the expertise out there, strength and conditioning wise, wasn’t as readily available as it is now. And I didn’t know what I should be doing in the gym.
“I think it was 2010 it really hit, I was playing really poorly for the club, we got beat in an intermediate quarter-final. I think remember a couple of weeks after that game being disillusioned. I had kind of gone from being a decent underage player, who would have played with Mayo all the way up, to being on the senior panel, to not even being a decent club player within a couple of years.”
Boyle was called back into the Mayo senior football panel and became a regular starter from 2012 onwards. He went on to play in seven All-Ireland SFC finals, pick up four All-Stars and eight Connacht SFC medals along the way, not bad for a lad who wasn’t a decent club player!
You can listen to the full episode here.