From the Banner to Meelin a passion remains


Published 05/09/2013 | 05:26

Clare supporters Terry Walsh, Eva MacGrath, Michael MacGrath, Kathy & Michael Dinan and Oisin and Aoife MacGrath with Pa the Piper Hurley and Tom The Bomber Roche at the worlds biggest hurling game in Meelin. Photo; Eileen O'Connor

A FANATICAL GAA Clareman living in Meelin takes hurling so seriously that he has plonked a Clare flag right smack bang in the middle of his garden.

With a smile, Adrian MacGrath explained to The Corkman that the flag is not just in position for the upcoming All Ireland final, but it is in situ all year round. The flag, he points out is in prime view of his neighbour, Limerick native Ger Buckley's kitchen window.

To finally drive the argument home on his sheer dedication to the Banner county, he even attends challenge matches. Enough said.

From undertaking interviews with people from Clare living in Duhallow, a prime reason given for the their defection was because they met "their better half" and were seconded to the Rebel county. However, for Adrian and his wife, Eva, she too is a fully blooded Clare woman, who is also crazy for hurling and all things GAA. Adrian said that when he met Eva they were both living in Dublin. However, they soon wanted to move out of the capital.

As Eva's line of work lies in the pharmaceutical industry, then the Rebel county was a likely port of call. They lived in Grenagh for a period of time, and then looked around for a place to buy. They decided to look around North Cork and ended up buying a house in Meelin.

"I thank my lucky stars that I ended up in Meelin as it is the only fanatical hurling Club in Duhallow, because the rest in my view, are football mad. It's a really happy fortune that I ended up in Meelin," he said.

The couple have two children, Oisin (8) and Aoife (6). To drive the point home, how much Eva also likes hurling, she was due to give birth to Oisin on September 1, 2005, but yet, she stood and shouted on the Clare team in the All Ireland semi final in August. In that game, as many will recall, Clare were ahead and then Cork ended up winning by one point.

When asked who his favourite Cork player is, without hesitation he said Patrick Horgan. Adrian said that Horgan was a small light player when he first togged out for the Cork team, but now he has gained great physical strength.

"And along side that strength comes his clear commitment. He has had a great season and he has been through a few rough years," he said.

When asked who his favourite Clare hurler is, he remained tight lipped. However, he did say that Clare has a great interest in developing their hurlers as people as well as being hurlers. It seems a really pointless question, asking a hurling fanatic if he and his family will attend the All Ireland final. But nevertheless, I put the question to him.

"I have been promised two tickets from a friend in Dublin and for this I am swopping pallet racking with him," he said.

Ever the Clareman for the bartering. Despite living in Duhallow, the family regularly go to Scariff and attend the local matches. Considering his two children are being raised in Duhallow and in particular Meelin, where children as soon as they can crawl pick up a hurley, he said that both Oisin and Aoife are staunch Clare supporters. Since moving to Meelin, he has also been involved in coaching .

"I have no complaints at all about living in Meelin. Ger Buckley is a great neighbour to us and I have always got a great reception in Meelin, even if I do ramble on about Clare a lot," he laughed.

A slice of proud history for the family is that Adrian's father, Michael played the Munster minor football final in 1953 which were victorious over Cork. On the crunch question of who will bag the 2013 All Ireland title, he believes that Clare have a very strong chance of being victorious on the day.

"The Clare team have been consistently improving," he said.

If the Banner county are victorious on the day, then God only known what Adrian will put in his garden.


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