ONE of Donegal’s great Gaelic footballers of a bygone era, James ‘Cookie’ Boyle ,was remembered once again on Saturday night in the Rosses at the Naomh Muire clubrooms in Mullaghderg.
The occasion was the presentation of a framed jersey worn by ‘Cookie’ as a 16 year old when he graduated from underage football to senior football with Rosses Rovers,in 1948, by his wife Breid Boyle.
The frame, which includes the jersey and photograph of James in his playing days, and also a team photo of the 1948 Rosses Rovers Dr. McGettigan Cup winning team, is now hanging on the wall of the Naomh Muire clubrooms.
Tributes were paid to James, affectionately known by all as ‘Cookie’, on the night by his former playing colleagues and writer Padraig O’Baoill and Sean O’Donnell, who played with ‘Cookie’ with Rosses Rovers, Dungloe and Donegal.
Both spoke in revered tones of ‘Cookie’s’ great achievements on the playing fields of Donegal and Ulster and even Croke Park, and his prowess as a footballer, and the legendary battles with neighbours Gaoth Dobhair.
Cormac McGarvey, the Naomh Muire chairman, spoke on the night and thanked Breid Boyle for her generosity in donating the jersey to the club. Local parish priest Fr. Michael Herrity, Annagry and Annagry native and member of the Donegal Association in Dublin, Charlie McGinley, also spoke glowingly of the late sporting giant from the Rosses.
Naomh Muire official and a former Donegal Co. Board chairman, Seamus Rodgers, acted as master of ceremonies.
In a football career that spanned two decades - the 1940s and 1950s - James played for Rosses Rovers, Dungloe, St. Michael’s and Donegal, and was recognised as one of the best centre half-backs in the game.
James ‘Cookie’ Boyle played for Donegal in 1949 and again from 1955 to ‘57 and was a member of the Donegal team defeated by Kerry in the All-Ireland Junior Football final of 1954. He won two championships with Dungloe in 1957 and ‘58, at centre half-back, the last time the Dr. Maguire Cup visited the Rosses.
James’ Cookie’ Boyle died last year at the age of 81, but his name will forever live in the memories off all sports people in the Rosses and even further afield.
His memory and his legend lives on.