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Two years ago, Ciarán McGrath suffered a horror leg break. Tonight he's an All-Ireland champ

“The goal was that you’d be rewarded on Paddy’s Day. That’s what kept me going.”

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

WHEN CIARÁN MCGRATH broke his fibula and tibia playing hurling in October 2012, there were fears that he might never kick a football again.

So when Corofin lifted the AIB All-Ireland club senior football title for just the second time this afternoon, it was hard to imagine a player who had come through more to be there.

The corner-back missed seven months of work, and about 18 months of football, as he battled back from the horrific double leg-break.

Today was the reward for his perseverence through the pain. He helped limit Derry champions Slaughtneil to just four points from play as Corofin ran out comfortable 1-14 to 0-7 winners and clinched a first title since 1998.

“That was the goal every day you did a bit of rehab or did a bit in the gym, the goal was that you’d be rewarded on Paddy’s Day,” he said. ”That’s what kept me going.

That was the belief that was there, that we were good enough and we had young lads coming through that are exceptional talents, and if we could stick we’d get our just rewards, and myself included, that I’d be rewarded for the hard work.

“I’ll enjoy tonight and the next few days and reap the rewards.”

Ciaran McGrath celebrates after the game Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

McGrath was part of the Corofin sides that cruelly lost All-Ireland semi-finals to Kilmacud Crokes in 2009 and to St Gall’s after extra time in 2010.

Even through the darkest days of his injury, giving up was never an option.

“It came to the stage where I contemplated maybe playing in goal because I was struggling to run. I knew I had to play some part, that I loved the game too much to be out of it.

I used to get involved as much as I could but I contemplated trying out in goal to see how I’d fare out with that. Luckily enough I kept going — and I’ll avoid goal for another while.

He added: “We look upon ourselves as a top, top team and the top teams win more than one.

“I’d be hoping that we enjoy the next few weeks, embrace it, and go again like Vincent’s did and Crossmaglen and see can we produce more than one title with this team.”

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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