Grieving Doyle plays onBy Nick Ive
April 28, 2008
Steve Coppell paid tribute to the bravery of Kevin Doyle after the Reading striker decided to play against Wigan, despite learning of the deaths of four members of his family.
Doyle’s cousin, Lorraine Flood, aged 38, her husband Dermot, 41, and their children, Mark, 6, and Julie, 5, were found dead after a fire in their house in Clonroche, County Wexford, early on Saturday morning.
The two adults had suffered gunshots wounds.
News of the tragedy reached the Royals camp less than four hours before their 0-0 draw at fellow Premiership strugglers Wigan.
Manager Coppell informed the Republic of Ireland international of the horrific incident just before the team meeting at 11.30am and Doyle decided he wanted to play.
Coppell said: “I chatted with him. He was obviously upset, that goes without saying, but I think in a way playing the game took his mind off of it.
“It was his decision. Having spoken with his family, he wanted to play. If he hadn’t played he’d have just been sitting thinking about things.
“I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do, there isn’t a right thing in these situations, but he felt, very bravely, that he wanted to play.
“He was terrific, given the circumstances, and I can only imagine what he might have been thinking, certainly before the game.
“With the focus of what we were trying to do, that probably took his mind off it.
“Now he can think about, make contact with his family, find out what happened and do his mourning with his family.”
Doyle returned to Reading with his team-mates after the game.
The squad have a day off today, but the 24-year-old will fly home to Ireland after training tomorrow to spend time with his family.
A decision on whether he will be involved in Reading’s crunch match at home to Tottenham on Saturday will be made later in the week.
Coppell said: “He will have to be professional and give me an honest opinion.”