How good a hurler was Waterford's Ken McGrath? Browne, Mullane and Hartley reveal all

A benefit challenge match is being organised for the Deise legend on June 27th.

Tony Browne: 'He's one hell of a man'.
Tony Browne: 'He's one hell of a man'.
Image: Tom Honan/INPHO

FOUR MUNSTER SENIOR hurling medals, a National Hurling league honour and three Allstar awards were accumulated by Ken McGrath in a stellar 16-year hurling career.

It was a range of exploits that enshrined McGrath’s status in hurling and explains why there has been such an outpouring of goodwill following his recent illness.

A benefit game has been organised for McGrath after he underwent heart surgery recently with the ‘Ken McGrath Allstar Challenge’ scheduled for June 27th in Walsh Park.

Former Waterford greats Tony Browne, John Mullane and Fergal Hartley all attended this week’s launch of the event. They lent their support, urging fans to attend and were able to provide an insight into just how good a hurler the Mount Sion club man is.

Tony Browne

“We’re having a night for Ken and we’re hoping everyone is going to turn out for him. He’s one hell of a man. He’s an absolutely fantastic hurler. His hurling and his skills are appreciated all over the country.

“I’d the pleasure of playing alongside him for many years, he’s a great friend of mine. Just an absolutely fantastic guy and I want to wish him well.

“I played with him for a long, long time with Waterford. His competitiveness and training on the field was just unbelievable. His bravery stands out for me. He’d put his hand in the sky to take any ball.

John Mullane

“I’d be a friend and a county colleague with Ken McGrath. For me, Ken McGrath was an inspirational figure both on the field and in the dressing room. He gave his whole life for Waterford and for me, it’s only fitting now that we pay back what he’s given to us as players and supporters.

“I think it’s going to be a tremendous night on June 27th. Some fantastic players are coming on board. Thankfully he’s on the road to recovery and hopefully he’ll get back to full fitness.”

John Mullane: 'For me, Ken McGrath was an inspirational figure'. Mullane and McGrath are pictured here on a 2006 Allstar trip. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

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Fergal Hartley

“Myself and Ken always had a great relationship from the time he came on the panel in 1996 until the time I finished in 2005. I’d say he’s the best player I ever played with and one of the best that I’ve ever seen.

“I saw the video of the 2002 Munster final not so long ago and I hadn’t seen it since. He scored 0-7 from play and to do that is incredible. A really superb hurler who could play any position.

“I’d still say centre-forward was his best position. At the time when he came on, centre-forwards tended to be big, bulky, robust kind of players. He and Henry Shefflin were the players that broke the mould. They were really skilful centre-forwards who took on their men, could take scores and create scores. He probably revolutionized that position.

Ken McGrath 30/6/2002 DIGITAL Ken McGrath celebrating Waterford's 2002 Munster final win. Source: INPHO

“He was a fantastic player to have on your team as he’d lift your team. We always marked each other in club games. I rarely came out on the right side of it. Himself and Henry are the only two players that I thought were unmarkable when they were at their best. There was nothing you could do.”

Allstar hurling game to be held in aid of Ken McGrath as he recovers from heart surgery

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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