Earlier this evening, Jason Doherty brought down the curtain on his days as an inter-county footballer. The official announcement from Mayo GAA is here.
The Burrishoole player made his Mayo debut in early 2011, coming off the bench against Kerry in the National League and over the thirteen seasons he played for the county he won seven Connacht SFC medals as well as two National League ones. He was nominated for an All-Star in 2017.
When he first broke through at Senior level in James Horan’s first season as manager, he initially formed part of a potent full-forward line with Alan Freeman. Jason bagged seven goals from five starts in that breakout League campaign.
Once he made his Championship debut that summer, on that near-fatal day against London over in Ruislip, Jason shifted to the half-forward line. It was in the middle third where he operated for much of his inter-county after that.
In that role, the Burrishoole man epitomised the modern Gaelic footballer. Full of running, first to the breaking ball, incredibly hard-working and always with an eye for a booming score from distance, points that, for a Mayo fan, were always a joy to see flying over the bar.
The Mayo team that hit the heights in that era contained many households names, players instantly recognisable across the country. Jason, by contrast, tended to fly below the radar but Edwin McGreal is surely right – as Ed so often is – when he noted this evening that, even if the rest of the country didn’t appreciate this, Mayo people knew full well Jason Doherty’s worth and what he contributed to the cause.
The two cruciate injuries Jason suffered saw him out of action for an extended period from 2019. True to form, however, he battled back and last year saw him lining out for us in a Championship match once more for the first time in close to three years.
The final match he started for Mayo was this year’s All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final match against Galway. Coincidentally, his first full appearance for the county had been against the Tribesmen too, in that 2011 National League campaign. His final appearance in the Green and Red came, though, in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin, where he same on as a sub for Sam Callinan.
The retirement announcements of all those great warriors whose efforts propelled us to within touching distance of glory over the last decade have come as hammer blows to Mayo supporters. Jason’s, though expected, is no different and, given the special place so many fans have in their hearts for him, in particular in light of the courageous way he battled back from serious injury, I suspect this announcement will sting rather badly.
Mayo supporters owe Jason a large debt of gratitude for all he contributed to the cause over the past thirteen years. Thanks for everything you did, Jason, and the very best of luck to you and your family in the future.