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Andrew Paton Pete McGrath was approached to take over Dublin 2004.
# Master McGrath
This All-Ireland winning boss could have managed the Dublin footballers
Pete McGrath has revealed that he was approached by the Sky Blues in 2004.

FORMER ALL-IRELAND winning manager Pete McGrath has revealed that he turned down an approach to manage the Dublin senior footballers in 2004.

McGrath, preparing his Fermanagh side for Sunday’s Ulster SFC clash with Antrim, was sounded out about the possibility of replacing Tommy Lyons in the capital almost eleven years ago, before Paul Caffrey was appointed.

McGrath’s stock was high after guiding Ireland to an International Rules series victory against Australia over the course of two Croke Park tests.

And during his time in charge of Down, McGrath led the Mourne County to All-Ireland senior glory in 1991 and 1994.

Bryansford Gael / YouTube

McGrath was in charge of the Down seniors from 1989-2002 and during that time he also won two Ulster senior football championships, four McKenna Cups and a National League Division 3 title in 1997.

McGrath was also manager of Down’s 1987 All-Ireland minor winning crop and at U21 level, he masterminded Ulster glory in 2008 and 2009.

He revealed: “Coming here (Fermanagh) was me doing what I wanted to do.

“I had left the Down senior job in 2002 and since then I was nearly taking other jobs.

“Twice I nearly took the Louth job, I nearly took the Monaghan job before Eamonn McEneaney, I was lobbied very hard by Meath people to go down there and after my first year of International Rules management there was a tentative approach made by (CEO) John Costello from Dublin.

Ach gohairithe / YouTube

“That’s when I was still teaching and (faced with) the prospect of driving up and down to Dublin.

“I would say it was a tentative approach but I said ‘no’.

“I knew that those jobs weren’t right because I wasn’t ready to go back into county senior football.

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“But when this opportunity came, very late in the day, it was November (2013), I said to myself ‘look, you’re now out of teaching and this could be your last chance to manage at this level so go for it’.

“I didn’t spend to much time deliberating. I said ‘yeah, I’ll talk to you about it anyway’.

“That’s how it happened.”

McGrath is plotting a revenge mission against Antrim next Sunday, following last year’s dramatic provincial quarter-final defeat.

After 32 minutes at Brewster Park, hosts Fermanagh trailed by 0-1 to 1-10 but launched stunning fightbacks at the end of both halves to almost snatch an unlikely win.

IsleofLewisPresbyterianGaels / YouTube

McGrath recalled: “I couldn’t come to terms with how unrecognisable the team was in comparison to many of the games we’d played during the League.

“Then against Antrim we just weren’t functioning and people on the field looked completely mesmerised and overwhelmed and overawed by the whole occasion.

“The second half was better at times and the way they played in the last eight or nine minutes of the game when we really had to dig ourselves out of a dark hole was more like what I expected.”

McGrath guided Fermanagh to promotion from Division 3 of the Allianz Football League this year.

Originally published at 13.29

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