Rowing – Men’s Double Sculls
Mary Peters Trust athlete
medical doctor, but training full-time with Team Ireland Rowing Lisburn
Belfast Boat Club
Achievement I’m most proud of
winning a silver medal at the 2019 World Rowing Championships
What is your current goal
to be selected for and compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games
Double Sculler Philip Doyle’s winning combination of medicine and sport
Dr Philip Doyle first picked up an oar in 2014 whilst studying medicine at Queen’s University Belfast. A mere decade later he hopes to be competing for Team Ireland at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Up until his second year at QUB, field hockey was Philip’s main sport. He played at the top level for his alma mater, Banbridge Academy, for top ranked club Banbridge as well as representing Ulster and Ireland at U16s.
At QUB Philip’s prowess in rowing quickly rose to world university standard. He remained fully committed to the sport after graduating in 2018 and currently combines work as a medical doctor with his international duties.
‘I love to push myself to the limit and thrive in a competitive environment. I’ve always adored sport and as well as hockey and rowing I’ve played gaelic, soccer, cricket and squash as well as swimming and athletics. Of course, I also love medicine and my work in hospitals, and whilst I’m full-time training in Cork as part of the centralised programme for Irish rowers, I work a couple of days per week at Cork University Hospital in General Medicine.
‘The Tokyo Olympics was disappointing for me. So many factors played into it, and I believe we just lost our time to peak. I’m even more determined to push for a result in Paris – to be in the final top 6 would be amazing. If I’m lucky enough to be selected, of course!’
Winning a silver medal in the Double Sculls at the World Championships held in Linz, Austria in 2019 is the pinnacle of Philip’s rowing career to date he says, ‘That is definitely my most impressive achievement so far and what I’m most proud of.’ Despite the disappointment at Tokyo in 2021 Philip and his teammate reached the semi-finals and other career highlights for Philip include World Cup silver medals in 2019 and 2021.
For now, his big focus is the 2023 World Championships starting on 3rd September in Belgrade, Serbia. For an Irish boat to qualify for the Olympics, the team needs to be placed in the Top 11. Team Ireland’s goal is to secure Olympic qualification for three women’s, two men’s and two lightweight boats.
Interestingly it’s the ‘boats’ that qualify, not the individual athletes – that selection comes at a later stage in the lead up to Paris 2024. Irish coaches will make those decisions and officially team members will be announced only a month or two before the Olympics start. Though as Philip says, everyone will have a good idea of their chances of making the team, as individuals are regularly ranked on an ongoing basis.
Philip is one of 25 rowers – male and female – who are permanently based in Cork and train daily. 80% of the time they are on water at Inniscarra Dam in the Lee Valley, County Cork with the remainder spent in the gym.
Philip’s current Double Sculls partner is Daire Lynch from Clonmel, Co Tipperary. It’s a recent duo as they started training together March 2023 when Daire came back from college in Yale, Connecticut.
‘We’re matching together very nicely indeed’, says Philip. Before the World Championships in Serbia the pair are gearing up for the European Championships at the dazzling Lake Bled in Slovenia. The Europeans take place at the end of May and shortly after that in early June is the World Cup in Switzerland. All these competitions will play a part in securing selection for the Paris Olympics.
‘I’m very thankful to Mick Desmond, the Head Coach at Queen’s University Rowing Club who encouraged me when I first took the sport up and I’m thrilled to be a Mary Peters Trust athlete since 2015 – the work they do to help up and coming athletes is fantastic.’