Aindreas Doyle on working for Mick Wallace, Twitter and Celebrity Bainisteoir anguish
From sweeping up the Wexford half-back line to manning the phones for Mick Wallace, Aindreas Doyle is a busy man, yet he is also one of the biggest and best GAA Tweeters. JOE caught up with him to find out how he fits it all in.
For someone who is just 25, Wexford’s Aindreas Doyle has certainly packed a lot in. With a degree in PR and a Masters in Public Affairs under his belt, he works as a Parliamentary Assistant for one of the most high profile TDs in the country, Mick Wallace. Add in his role on the Wexford senior football team, a heart-breaking appearance in Celebrity Bainisteoir and a place in the top 10 GAA tweeters, according to the Irish Examiner, Doyle’s autobiography should be a cracker, whenever the occasional blogger gets around to it.
But for now he is looking ahead to facing Tipperary in the Qualifiers at the weekend. The puzzlement over the pain of yet another defeat to Dublin, the third in three years for Doyle and Wexford, is still near the surface though.
“That’s the third year in a row we have played them and we’ve had a similar result in each of the games,” he says mournfully. “The general consensus would be that we should have beaten them on the three occasions but obviously we failed to do so. It’s something we’re going to have to assess at the end of this year. We’ve formulated game plans over the last three years to beat Dublin, and they have been effective, but we just haven’t been able to close out games.”
And while Doyle admits some lessons were learnt from the Dublin game, Tipperary is another, different, challenge, and hopefully the beginning of a long, and enjoyable, summer in the Purple and Gold.
“If we win the game on Saturday, hopefully we will, you just get a bit of momentum and the games come thick and fast. It’s exciting, you play different teams, teams you might not normally play in your league or province and it's games every week. We train more than we play, so it’s a novelty.”
Speaking of novelty, Doyle’s day job certainly offers that, particularly in recent weeks when the media spotlight fell on his boss regarding his tax affairs.
“There was a four-week period when it was incessant,” says Doyle. “It was different things happening every day. The last few weeks it has died down as other things have started to take the media focus.”
I asked him about a report I had read of one very angry caller to the Wexford TD’s office.
“A fella rang to give out about Mick and the stuff that was going on, which was fair enough. We got calls giving out and calls supporting him. One guy rang me and he was pretty irate and he started to get aggressive and using bad language. I was fed up of listening to this stuff and had a go back. He asked for my name, I gave it to him and then he said he was going to come down to the Dail and fight me.
He asked for my name, I gave it to him and then he said he was going to come down to the Dail and fight me
“He rang three times over about a week. He vented at me and I gave it back to him and I think it helped both of us get stuff off our chest. It was more like therapy than anything else.”
Turning a negative into a positive is a bit of a theme with Doyle and he hopes the GAA can also adapt to the new world they inhabit, namely one with Twitter front and centre.
One of the topics of the GAA summer so far is the social network and its use, or misuse as some would term it, by GAA players. As one of the most entertaining, and active, GAA tweeters, we had to ask Doyle what he thought about the GAA’s attempts to muzzle players a little.
“It is important for players to be aware of what they tweet and that it may be picked up if it is deemed newsworthy by the media,” says Doyle. “But it’s not like professional soccer where clubs can fine players. It’s a bit of a grey area and it is hard to know how the GAA can deal with it. Like lots of industries, they may have to issue guidelines but they just hope that you adhere to them.
“Maybe that’s just the way it’s going to be. In general players are going to use their cop on. On occasions, incidents may happen in games that players aren’t happy about and they will air their views on Twitter. But I can’t really recall players saying anything outrageous on Twitter either.”
At this point I bring up Wexford goalkeeper Anthony Masterson’s name, in light of his comments last year about referee Derek Fahy. Masterson called Fahy’s decisions in Wexford’s defeat to Limerick in the Qualifiers ‘baffling’, earning him a stiff rebuke, and the stopper was eventually forced to write to the Longford whistler and apologise.
”At the time when he said it, a lot of the Wexford panel were unhappy, about the referee and how Anthony was getting treated by the GAA. At the time, two weeks after the Limerick game, everyone was upset and pissed off what had happened.
“99.9 per cent of players realise where the line is and they won’t step across it. Of our team, 60 to 70 per cent of us are on Twitter. Jason (Ryan, Wexford manager) is pretty liberal. Not to be tweeting about stuff in training or our preparation, aside from that there is no problem.”
Moving from 140 characters to just one, I mention Seanie Johnston, the other big GAA topic of 2012. I asked Doyle what he made of the entire affair.
The man of the year but he has yet to kick a ball, Seanie Johnston
“When I changed clubs, (Doyle now plays with Parnells in Dublin) it never crossed my mind to play with a different county. I’ve never been in the position Seanie Johnston is in and it is hard to say what you would or wouldn’t do.
“Best thing [for Johnston] might just be to play one game and become part and parcel of the Kildare set up and that will be it. It wouldn’t be something I would see myself doing but I wouldn’t have a go at him either.
And while Doyle isn’t critical of Johnston personally, he isn’t exactly pleased with the entire transfer saga either.
“At the same time I don’t think anyone will deny it was handled poorly. The situation with Coill Dubh (the hurling team that Johnston played for to make him eligible for Kildare at inter-county level) was laughable.”
Before we let Doyle back to his day job, we had to ask him about Celebrity Bainisteoir. He captained Taghmon/Camross in the inaugural year of the reality GAA show. One of my JOE colleagues, Conor Heneghan, was captain of the Kiltimagh side that beat Doyle’s team in the first round that year. When I ask Doyle if he remembers the clash, it’s pretty clear he does.
“Another game I was robbed in! It was a wet and windy day in Kiltimagh. We played well and we were up by a few points with a few minutes to go and it was another situation where we didn’t finish out the game. They scored a goal to win it. That was a horrible enough experience.”
But as you can imagine for someone with his background, Doyle has the final word on his Bainisteoir experience too.
“Funny thing is, I think in 2008, almost all the teams that competed that year won their Intermediate Championships. I know we did. But I think Kiltimagh got relegated (he’s spot on, of course). So I suppose our eye was on the real prize.”
Another minus turned into a plus. It has served him well so far. There should be more positives than negatives down the line, I suspect, for Aindreas Doyle.