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Veteran McGrath hungry for major role against Cork

RUMOURS of Ken McGrath's demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Déise veteran was written off as yesterday's man with knees like car wrecks before Waterford's Munster SFC defeat of Clare last Bank Holiday Monday, with some even speculating that his intercounty retirement was imminent.

Yet his appearance from the bench and subsequent long-distance point preceded a mighty roar of relief from McGrath and those Waterford supporters who feared they had seen the last of the three-time All Star. Now he's pushing for a spot in the Waterford team ahead of their Munster final meeting with Cork and he is certain there is a full game in him still.

"For the Cork game I wouldn't be far off it," McGrath said. "I'd be confident enough. If I'm asked I'll go out and see how I go. If I don't last 70, I don't last 70, but I suppose I have three months under my belt now. I feel confident enough I could last a fair amount of the game anyway."

Fifteen years of tough intercounty training has taken its toll on McGrath and he revealed yesterday the eventual plan is to have knee replacement surgery but for the time being he feels he is still capable of playing to a high level with his county.

"I suppose if I get everything right I wouldn't be far off it at all," McGrath explained. "Everybody gets older, you just have to get on with it. Three or four years ago you might have been in your prime but, as I said, if I was playing well on a certain day I wouldn't be that far off it at all."

McGrath stressed that the Waterford county board's decision to offer Cork home advantage for the Munster final prior to the Clare victory had no effect on the players or management and admitted that the reason he and other stalwarts like Dan Shanahan and Tony Browne keep coming back is they still fully believe there is an All-Ireland in this team.

"We believe it every year that there is an All-Ireland in us to be honest. We wouldn't be there if we didn't think we had something to offer the team," he concluded.