2nd December – Eoin Doyle: From Shelbourne to Swindon


For those familiar with the EFL and League Two in particular, the coined term ‘Ginger Pele’ has been in household use for the past couple of months.

And with 17 goals in 16 games in the fourth tier, Eoin Doyle is becoming a hero down Wiltshire way.

After a few stagnating years in League Two after mismanagement at board and coaching level, Swindon Town, once of the Premier League, have looked like a sleeping giant on a downward trajectory since 2017.

Now under the stewardship of Richie Wellens, they have regained their consciousness and currently top the league with 36 points from 19 games.

There is no doubt that a large percentage of credit has to go to Doyle, lovingly named the ‘Ginger Pele’ by the County Ground faithful.

Doyle, much like Swindon, has been at a higher level and excelled somewhat – reaching the second tier with Cardiff City in 2015, scoring five times.

From humble beginnings, the Irishman has always been grounded and hard-working in his play. He began his youth career with local side Shelbourne – the then Irish champions.

He was tipped for success in the English game from a young age, but would spend the next four years at Cherry Orchard and Crumlin United before returning to the ‘Real Reds’ in 2006.

His time was once again cut short though, as manager Dermot Keely released him within weeks of his arrival.

Shamrock Rovers was the next destination in Doyle’s native path, being promoted from the under-21’s in mid-2007. In a 2-0 victory at Waterford (ironically now owned by Lee Power, the same owner as Swindon), he featured and impressed alongside the now Newport County striker Padraig Amond.

Heading into his twenties, Doyle had only struck five times for Shamrock before departing for Sligo Rovers in 2009, following the departure of manager Pat Scully earlier that year.

Scoring on his debut was a sign of success to come for Doyle, with the then youngster also firing in the FAI Cup final in 2009 for ‘The bit 0′ Red’. A goal but in vain as they lost out 2-1 to the now defunct Sporting Fingal, but an achievement nonetheless.

He would go on to score 29 times for the now struggling Sligo, winning the 2011 FAI Cup final against Shelbourne, and would finally depart his homeland to test himself on foreign shores. Twas for a side in Green though, so shades of home echoed through his move to Edinburgh in December of that year.

Hibernian beat Aberdeen and Ipswich to Doyle’s coveted signature on a free transfer. He would go on to score thrice in his opening half season, including one in a 4-0 dismantling of Dunfermline which helped maintain the Cabbage’s top flight status.

The following season brought eleven more goals in green, including one in a 4-3 Scottish Cup Semi-Final win over Falkirk. His final game for the club, following considerable speculation, was a defeat in the final to Celtic.

Chesterfield was his first destination below the border, with a considerable influence being Paul Cook.

The now Wigan boss was Doyle’s manager at Sligo and convinced him to join the Derbyshire outfit sitting in the fourth tier.

13/14 and 14/15 yielded his greatest productivity thus far in his career, with the latter earning him a mid-season move to Cardiff after 21 goals in 26 games in League One.

That £900k move would peak his career in the Championship, and spent the next season on loan at Preston North End – failing to reach the standards that he achieved in the third tier.

To date he has only ten strikes at this level, and is unlikely to increase it in the near future.

Bounding loan spells at Portsmouth and Oldham preceded a move to Bradford City – and a reduction in funds saw his loan to Swindon materialise.

Having lacked a true goalscorer since the departure of Nicky Ajose in 2016, Town obviously had caught a coup with the Irishman’s arrival.

None would have anticipated his impact though.

Having contributed 17, yes, seventeen of Swindon’s 32 goals this season, he has been the integral factor that has seen the Robins’ rise to the top of the table.

Doyle himself has envisaged a season of success at Swindon, and doesn’t anticipate returning to the Bantams anytime soon.

“The team is great, and the players suit my style of play. I fancy myself as a player that can hang in the box and score the odd goal.

“I feel like I have the easy job out there compared to the rest of the team. They’re enthusiastic, and I think a lot of them will have great careers in the future.

“I’m enjoying my football at Swindon, and I’ve played under Richie (Wellens) before. So when the opportunity came, I jumped at it.”

Will Doyle maintain his form throughout the season? And will his Swindon side fulfil their promotion potential?



About Author

Sports Journalism student, streamer at LFC Transfer Room, Anfield Agenda. Liverpool fan with a particular interest in Welsh, Youth, and African football.

Comments are closed.