Shane McGrath named Vodafone GAA All Stars Hurler of the Month for April


Awards for McGrath and Doherty

by JP Lonergan for Setanta Sports, 07 May 2008

Tipperary hurler Shane McGrath and Derry football star Fergal Doherty were on Wednesday named the Vodafone GAA All Stars Players of the Month for April.

The duo, who helped their sides to Division One League glory in their respective codes, were presented with their awards at a reception in Dublin’s Westbury Hotel by GAA President Nickey Brennan.

Midfielder McGrath was instrumental in Tipp’s run to League glory and is seen as one of the most promising young players in the game. The Ballinahinch club man starred as Liam Sheedy’s men outscored Ger Loughnane’s Galway in a thrilling league final in Limerick in April.

Doherty, an All Star nominee in 2007, helped Derry to their football league title, achieved with a great win over All-Ireland champions Kerry just over a week ago.

Midfielder Doherty, of the Bellaghy club, returned from missing the early part of the campaign through injury to star in games against Tyrone, Donegal and then Kerry.

He contributed a number of crucial scores, including a massive goal in the win over The Kingdom as The Oak Leafers claimed their sixth league title and their first national honour for eight years.

Speaking at the presentation Nickey Brennan said of the awarded duo. “The success enjoyed by Tipperary and Derry in the National Leagues could be the springboard for even greater achievements for the teams.

“Shane and Fergal were outstanding in demanding roles and are deserving winners.”


Tipp ace hails boss Sheedy
by JP Lonergan for Setanta Sports

07 May 2008


Tipperary hurler Shane McGrath has hailed the influence of manager Liam Sheedy on the back of The Premier County’s National Hurling League win.

Sheedy took over from the colourful Babs Keating ahead of the 2008 campaign and McGrath, who was on Tuesday named Vodafone GAA All Stars Hurler of the Month for April, says the Portroe clubman has proven the perfect foil for the county’s talented hurling collective.

“Liam is a real players’ man,” the young midfielder said on Tuesday.

“Anyone who has any problems will go straight to Liam and there is no hassle there with Liam. Everyone gets on really well with each other.”

Having won the League, Tipp are now facing a mammoth clash with Cork in their Munster opener on June 8, and while McGrath is under no illusions of how important that game is, the player says that he and his team-mates are determined to enjoy what they are doing as Tipperary hurlers.

“The way I take games now is that ‘you cannot buy experience,’” the Ballinahinch player continued.

“I am doing things a bit different now then when I started out; I am just going out and enjoying my hurling this year more than anything.

“Things are going well but you have to go out and enjoy the game as well, that’s why you play it. You can’t be too uptight or you’re not going to enjoy it. We are focused but at the same time we are enjoying it.

“If you can get into a habit of winning it’s great. Everyone in there is in a good mood about training and it’s like an extra energy to have the players beside any management when you’re winning.”

That winning feeling must have seemed a long way away last year when Tipp emerged from a three-game classic against Limerick as losers in the Munster semi-final.

That disappointment has no doubt fuelled his appreciation for the good times this year as he still looks back on last June’s saga and how much it took out of all parties involved, but especially the losers.

“If you ask any of the Limerick boys, whoever lost that semi-final after three games, it was going to take a lot out of them, physically and mentally.

“We went out the following week and beat Offaly and we only beat them by a goal in the end but it was a huge victory for us because we were so tired after Limerick.”


McGrath: All Tipp eyes on Cork
by JP Lonergan for Setanta Sports

Tipperary hurling star Shane McGrath says The Premier County’s National Hurling League title will count for nothing when they face Cork in the Munster Championship on June 8.


McGrath was named Vodafone GAA All Stars Hurler of the Month on Tuesday after helping Liam Sheedy’s men to glory against Galway in the League final, but despite having a trophy in the bag, he insists that everyone in the Tipperary camp is geared at facing the old enemy next month.

McGrath, like so many of his team-mates and indeed the opposition, has grown up watching Tipp take on Cork in classic after classic. He knows his side will face stiff opposition at Pairc Ui Chaoimh as they look to end a run without a win in Cork that stretches back for nearly a century.

Speaking at the awards ceremony where he received his April gong, the Ballinahinch man said Tipp will be under pressure to push on after winning the League, but more than anything they will enjoying being part of the latest Tipp-Cork crunch game against a Rebels side with plenty to prove.

“I suppose when you win something there always comes a bit of pressure,” said McGrath.

“But all we can say at the moment is that Tipp have not won down there for over eighty years so we will have that in the back of our mind but records are there to be broken at the same time.

“We are going down there playing Cork in Cork; it doesn’t get any better than that, you play hurling for days like that, Championship days against Cork.

“We are really looking forward to it. We have been training hard and we are where we want to be at this time of the year. The lads are going well, there is a good buzz around and we are all really looking forward to June 8.”

McGrath remembers his first big day out to see the great rivals clash when his father brought him to see Tipp defeat The Rebels 4-19 to 4-15 in the 1991 Munster final replay – a game that reflected everything about the drive, passion and skill that is regularly on show when the sides face off.

“My first memory is the 1991 Munster final replay in Thurles,” he added. “I went with my father. It was probably one of the best games of hurling of all time and luckily I went to it. That was my first experience of Cork and Tipp, so the tradition is there but tradition does not count for anything – it’s all in the day.

“There is a lot on the line. You have the added incentive this year that the provincial winners will go straight into an All-Ireland semi-final, so if you look at it that way you are only four games away from being All-Ireland champions.

“But Cork-Tipp speaks for itself.”

The way the Championship is structured this year, the losers of the Tipperary-Cork clash are set to meet beaten league finalists Galway further down the line before an All-Ireland semi-final. McGrath says that is another reason to be looking for the win – as if it were needed – as he saw first hand what Ger Loughnane’s extremely talented side are capable of on league final day.

“Galway showed what they are like in the league. They are a very physical team, they are a hurling team and their fitness is second to none at the moment.

“I think it has worked very well under Ger Loughnane this year. Maybe last year it didn’t go as well as he had hoped but things are starting to click and he is getting good players in like Joe [Canning] which is adding that bit extra to the. They are going to be a team to watch this year.”

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