COME AND GET IT Mayo’s Colm Boyle drives past Dublin’s John Small, left, and Ciaran Kilkenny during the 2019 All-Ireland SFC semi-final. It was to be his last championship start for Mayo. Pic: Sportsfile
ONE of Mayo’s all-time great defenders, Colm Boyle, has retired from senior inter-county football.
The Mayo News has learned that the 35 year-old Davitts clubman made his decision in the wake of Mayo’s All-Ireland Final defeat to Tyrone back in September, and subsequently informed Mayo manager James Horan and his team-mates.
Boyle, who won four All Stars and six Connacht senior championship medals during an illustrious career with Mayo, made 120 league and championship appearances for the county’s senior team.
He made his senior championship debut against Sligo in 2008 and his last championship start was the 2019 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin.
Speaking to The Mayo News last night, former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford — who worked with Boyle for three seasons between 2016 and 2018 — hailed the teak-tough half-back as ‘a great leader’ ‘who did his talking on the field’ and ‘never took a step back’.
“Colm was a great servant to the county,” said Rochford. “When I think of Colm, I don’t think of him necessarily playing for Mayo, but representing Mayo.
“He would be a guy who can hold his head up high as he walks away now, because he has certainly left the jersey in a better place.
“He was a guy of consistency and reliability, who certainly did his talking on the field.
“He was a great leader in that sense, made his presence felt in tackles, his willingness to always support the team, and he was never found wanting when it came to winning breaking ball.
“I think we all probably have different images in our mind of Colm during his Mayo career, but a lot of them for me are of him slicing the ball over the bar with his right foot or diving head-first into a tackle or on to a breaking ball.
“Colm never took a step back, he was always on the front foot.
“He played with his heart on his sleeve and that was representative of that tenacious character that he was, and the great guy that he is.”
Boyle made just four substitute appearances for Mayo last season, three of them in the National League against Down, Meath and Westmeath.
His only championship minutes came when he was introduced against Leitrim in the Connacht SFC semi-final.
His 2020 season was also significantly curtailed when he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in a National League match against Dublin in Castlebar.
As a result, he only made two league starts that season.
Boyle, who works as a Garda and is based in Westport, also represented Ireland in the International Rules series and won an All-Ireland Under-21 medal in 2006.