Thursday 29 September 2016

'I was never the same after 2008' - McGrath

Published 23/02/2016 | 02:30

Waterford's legendary hurler Ken McGrath. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Waterford's legendary hurler Ken McGrath. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile

Waterford legend Ken McGrath has admitted the crushing 2008 All-Ireland final defeat to Kilkenny was the beginning of the end for him as an inter-county hurler.

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McGrath features in the latest of TG4's 'Laochra Gael' series and admits he was "never the same" after the 23-point mauling. The Mount Sion man won All-Stars as a defender, midfielder and forward and was the central cog in Waterford's renaissance.

But defeat hit him hard while missing the 2010 Munster final win over Cork was "heartbreaking" because he didn't play.

"I was delighted we won but on a personal level it was just killing me inside," he said. "After helping the team so much, after being right in the middle of the action for so long, the team fighting so hard to win a Munster final, I was heartbroken."

But 2008 took most out of him. "Looking back for me I was never the same after that All-Ireland final. From that day I never really had a good run with Waterford. It's hard to even admit that but those are the facts."

Humbled

McGrath overcame serious illness in 2014 - he spent three months in hospital - and admits he was "humbled" by the support he received.

"I had a brain haemorrhage in 2013. A couple of months later a few small things were going wrong. I knew I wasn't right. I don't think I was right for a couple of years."

A benefit match for him in the summer of 2014 really lifted his spirits. "There were players from Munster and Leinster there. I think there was 110 All-Stars on the pitch, 7,000 people turned up. You would be humbled by what went on. It was hard not to get a bit emotional. One of the best moments of my life was walking across that pitch."

McGrath feels failure to win an All-Ireland won't define his Waterford team.

"We were involved in some of the best games of all time, we lifted a whole generation of hurling people in Waterford. We haven't an All-Ireland but I'll be honest, the team will be remembered."

Irish Independent

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