We picked out some highlights from the extraordinary Mayo career of Colm Boyle
1 Mayo v Dublin, National Football League Division 1, March 31, 2012
IF there’s one thing Mayo fans love more than a player going off on his shield, blood flowing from battle, it is said player returning to the game, ready for more.
Dublin’s Paul Flynn was red carded for an elbow which saw blood streaming from the Colm Boyle’s head. Both left the field of play but Boyle returned five minutes later and the Mayo crowd loved it.
He was in plenty more battles but never backed from any of them. This the game where Mayo fans started to really fall in love with the Davitts man.
He was like a gladiator in the Colosseum.
2 Mayo v Kerry, League semi-final, April 15, 2012
ONE of the under-rated qualities Colm Boyle had was his elusiveness. Few players are as good at managing to escape the tackle and emerge with the ball in tight spaces.
In this epic league semi-final, which went to extra-time and Mayo looked to have lost many times over, it was a goal from Boyle which turned the game in their favour.
Surrounded by four Kerry men in the large parallelogram, nothing appeared on.
But not to Boyle. Using that trademark nimbleness of foot, he managed to pirouette and somehow drop the ball on to his left foot and steer it into the net.
3 Mayo v Dublin, All-Ireland semi-final, September 2, 2012
BOYLER came on in this epic game 55 minutes in and it was incredible that he was able to take part at all. The Davitts dynamo had been laid low with a virus just ahead of the match and could not make the starting team.
In fact, it was anticipated that there was no way he could even tog, never mind come on.
But few who watched him over the years will be surprised that Boyle found within him the strength to not alone come on but to make a telling contribution in a famous win.
4 Mayo v Galway, Connacht Final, July 13, 2014
NEVER was that evolution from his first spell as a Mayo senior to his second more pronounced than in his shuddering shoulder on Damien Comer five minutes into this clash.
With a hit that could be felt all the way back in Annaghdown, Boyle executed a perfectly-timed shoulder.
It was a hit that spoke about where Boyle was at but also was a metaphor for the rivalry at that point – Mayo were physically dominating Galway. Comer tried to return the favour in a subsequent game but Boyle, cutely, saw him coming and dodged it, sending Comer hurtling to the ground again.
5 Mayo v Sligo, Connacht Final, July 19, 2015
THE Davitts defender always brought a rapid intensity that made him a supreme competitor, regardless of the situation.
His acrobatic block of a shot from Adrian Marren in the second half of the 2015 Connacht Final summed this up.
Mayo were on their way to a 26-point hammering of Sligo but Boyle didn’t care. Marren got a sliver of space on the right wing in the Hyde to shoot but Boyle literally threw himself at the shot, taking off like Superman, to execute a mid-air block that was as aesthetically pleasing as you might ever see.
6 Mayo v Dublin, All-Ireland Semi-Final (drawn game), August 30, 2015
THE Connacht champions were trying to pull off a great escape from seven points down but needed a goal. Andy Moran and Cillian O’Connor had missed but, on 68 minutes, Colm Boyle seized the initiative.
He took off from deep in his own half and as the ball went through the lines, Boyle went flat out to offer support, getting on the end of a pass from O’Connor just outside the large parallelogram.
With four Dubs descending on him, Boyle used his trademark elusiveness to duck under the first tackle and had made it inside the ‘13 when he was brought to the ground. Penalty.
Cillian O’Connor converted, Andy Moran scored the equaliser, and Mayo had completed a most unlikely comeback.
7 Mayo v Tyrone, All-Ireland Quarter-Final, August 6, 2016
WE could pick all manner of points from Boyle for this list. They always had the ability to lift the team and crowd, be they his trademark outside of the right shots or an odd educated left-footed effort.
But his point right on half-time versus Tyrone to level the game in this seismic clash was vital. It was from fully 45 metres, off the outside of the boot, and gave Mayo a huge lift going in at the break, to be level and for their plan to be coming together.
Mayo won by a solitary point on a day they announced they were far from finished.
8 Mayo v Kerry, All-Ireland Semi-Final (drawn game), August 20, 2017
IT was fitting that Colm Boyle’s only championship goal came in the Davitts colours, Mayo’s changed kit of red and black in 2017.
For all that his warrior qualities are rightly praised, this score showed the full range of footballing skills that he possessed.
He dropped the shoulder brilliantly to get inside the cover, then used the overlap of Lee Keegan to sell a dummy to the final defender before finishing superbly to the net.
Skill, poise and awareness all wrapped up in one brilliant goal.
It’s also interesting that his two senior goals for Mayo both came against Kerry.
9 Mayo v Dublin, National Football League, February 1, 2020
THIS was the game in which Colm Boyle tore his cruciate, but even in such a low day as a footballer, we saw plenty of the qualities that made him such a favourite.
It happened in the first half but Boyle played on. He was limping but he wanted to try to run it off. Not even he can run off a cruciate, but he was determined not to give in.
When he went off at half-time, limping heavily, it was no surprise he did not return but the mere fact he had played on led us to hope the injury might not be that bad … But, of course it was, it was just that Boyle has a different pain threshold to most other humans.
10 Mayo v Dublin, All-Ireland Semi-Final, August 14, 2021
THE final whistle sounds and Mayo manager James Horan is nearly knocked down by a jubilant Colm Boyle in the ensuing celebrations.
He had been afforded precious little game time all summer.
We thought watching on that it was the perfect game to bring on the 35 year-old veteran as Mayo tried to see the game out.
But of the eleven switches that Horan made that day, Boyle remained an unused sub’.
Some players in that scenario would be frustrated with their manager, but Boyle has always been a selfless footballer and in that moment all that was occupying his thoughts was celebrating a famous victory.
Because it was always all about the team.