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Loughmore-Castleiney boss Frankie McGrath says dual heroes have put club on map after Tipperary SFC success

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Dual club, dual manager: Loughmore-Castleiney's Frankie McGrath during the drawn Tipperary SHC final against Thurles Sarsfields. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Dual club, dual manager: Loughmore-Castleiney's Frankie McGrath during the drawn Tipperary SHC final against Thurles Sarsfields. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Frankie McGrath

Frankie McGrath

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Dual club, dual manager: Loughmore-Castleiney's Frankie McGrath during the drawn Tipperary SHC final against Thurles Sarsfields. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

There are dual clubs and there are dual teams. Loughmore-Castleiney emphatically belong in the latter category, and that’s what makes them extra special, according to their manager Frankie McGrath.

The newly crowned Tipperary SFC champions will seek a senior county double this Sunday when their hurlers face Thurles Sarsfields in a much-anticipated Semple Stadium replay.

Victory would see them emulate the achievements of Naas and Kilmacud Crokes, who have both secured senior hurling and football doubles, in Kildare and Dublin respectively, over recent weeks.

But there’s one key difference that doesn’t even qualify as subtle: where Naas might have a couple of dual panellists and Crokes just one, the vast majority of the Loughmore-Castleiney crew juggle both codes.

Nine of the match programme team for Sunday’s football decider against Clonmel Commercials had also started against Thurles in the original hurling final stalemate seven days earlier.

When one of those nine – John Meagher – was ruled out through injury, his full-back place went to Joey Hennessy, who also happened to have started the previous Sunday.

Ergo, back up to nine – a group that included Tipp hurler John McGrath, who has now been county final man of the match two weekends running.

In addition, another five players saw game-time in both county finals – be it as a starter and sub, or twice off the bench.

Last year, Loughmore also reached two senior finals and lost both. Now they have a chance to make amends on the double.

Win or lose against Thurles, however, what makes their endurance all the more remarkable is the fact that so many players have been on the go for 16 weeks on the spin.

The hurling replay will make that 17, with week number 18 now guaranteed away to Éire Óg of Ennis in the Munster club SFC.

According to Frankie McGrath – who, wouldn’t you know, manages both teams – outsiders are slowly “beginning to realise” the extent of their dual crossover.

“Every now and again people mention groups like Kilmacud Crokes and Naas above in Kildare. But there is no comparison,” he stressed.

“Every guy that played last Sunday for us was bursting for a place (against Clonmel) as well. And it will be next week as well.

“Our entire team are dual players. Kilmacud … I didn’t see Paul Mannion’s name on the Kilmacud hurling team, and Naas probably only have a couple. So, to mention the two in the same breath wouldn’t be fair.

“Look, we’re on a little bit of a roller-coaster here, so we are. It could all end very quickly as well, we’re conscious of that.”

The good news is that after last year’s deflating double-whammy, there will be at least one trophy – the O’Dwyer Cup – residing in their club this winter.

But McGrath reckons the achievements of his squad of
dual stars goes far beyond silverware.

“Regardless of how the games go,” their manager concluded, “we’ve put Loughmore-Castleiney on the map in a way that no marketing drive, no advertising, no media drive could ever do. I mean, these games nowadays, they go all over the world.”



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