Thursday 24 August 2017

McGrath one of the great warriors

Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

In this age of militaristic systems and information overload, Ken McGrath always looked a throwback to manliness and the glorious spontaneity of battle.

The hackneyed expression of a hurler "opening his shoulders" could have been coined with Ken in mind.

At his best, he was a virtual force of nature and this column recalls standing next to Nicky English on the Pairc Ui Chaoimh pitch immediately after Waterford's Munster final win in 2002.

It was the county's first triumph in 39 years and, though crestfallen at being beaten, the Tipp manager had the wherewithal to stay out and pay Waterford due respect.

English knew what he'd just seen. His last year as a county hurler ('96) had intersected with McGrath's first. And now, in the cauldron of a Munster final, the kid had scored 0-7 from play.

"As good as anyone I've seen," said English.

A decade on we can, but applaud his prescience.

Irish Independent

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