13:37, 15 Jun 2012
John Doyle's 13th Senior Football Championship campaign begins this Sunday in Portlaoise as Kildare face Offaly in the last of the Leinster SFC quarter-finals.
Doyle has seen many highs and lows since he first pulled on the Kildare senior jersey against Louth in 2000, the very yeat that last saw the Lilywhites capture the Delaney Cup.
"Obviously every sportsperson has that selfish element to them. That's what keeps you hungry and driving it on," admitted the 35-year-old.
"Every lad in the panel is just as important. The fact that he is driving on is driving you on as well.
"I'm hanging in there now just about and I just have to keep my head down and keep working hard. My biggest job is convincing Kieran McGeeney that I should be in the starting fifteen."
Looking ahead to Sunday's game at O'Moore Park, Doyle says nothing can be taken for granted against Offaly despite them missing some top quality players such as Ciarán McManus and Niall McNamee.
"People have their own perspective on the game and obviously some team has to be favourites.
"That tag has been put on Kildare, but we have to go out and perform on the day and if you don't do that you are going to be in serious trouble.
"We are training hard, keeping the head down and just focussing on the Offaly game."
Doyle has scored 19 points against Offaly in five Championship meetings between the sides since his debut, including an All-Ireland SFC qualifier in 2004.
"In all of the times I have played Offaly, whether it was league or Championship, I think there's very few times we have got the better of them.
"They will always be up for a clash - a local team, where there is that bit of rivalry around west Kildare. It's going to be a tough battle.
"Tom Coffey has come in as their manager and he has huge pedigree. A lot of people would have tipped him to get the job in the first place.
"He is coming in to gel the lads together. They have got a few of the older stock back on board, there's a lot of experience there and they are going to be very hard to beat.
"We just have to worry about ourselves and make sure that we are ready to perform on the day. Once we do that I think we are able to compete with them."
Kieran McGeeney is leading Kildare into his fifth Championship campaign as manager. Doyle says that no places are secured in the starting line-up.
"The day you think your position is safe and that you have made the starting line-up is the day you are in real trouble," he insisted.
"That's always been the case. Kieran has built a huge panel where there is good competition for places and obviously like every other county it is a 20-man game and you need every member of your panel to come in.
"If you empty the tank for a half-an-hour well that's all you have to give. Someone else comes in and finishes the job.
"That's what we are at and that's the way it has always been. We'll keep the head down and keep working hard."