Brian McGrath's powerful interview after county final win is club GAA at its finest 1 month ago

Brian McGrath's powerful interview after county final win is club GAA at its finest

Loughmore-Castleiney 2-14 Thurles Sarsfields 2-13

Not one man took a step back in a Tipperary county final that, through heart, guts and sheer determination, Loughmore-Castleiney endured to win by the narrowest of margins.

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The first half was a cagey affair but by the time referee John McCormack blew his final whistle to signal that this marvellous mid-Tipperary club had won the senior hurling and football double, Semple Stadium, for the second time in seven days, was rocking like the colosseum.

For the second time in seven days, Loughmore-Castleiney were champions of Tipperary.

Inside, there were men down all over the place, there were tears in the eyes of Thurles and Loughmore people alike, there were kids doing knee-slides and inspired by the power of it all, there were adults jumping up and down. This was one of the best county finals you will ever watch and this was Loughmore-Castleiney at their unrelenting best.

There were many times during this 65 minute arm-wrestle when, with bad breaks like Thurles' second goal going against them, Loughmore-Castleiney could have doubted themselves and they could have thought here we go again. But for the second time in seven days, for the 17th time in 17 weekends, they went to the well and they came back with the win.

It was guts, it was stomach and it was courage for a finish as, with Thurles Sarsfields throwing everything and the kitchen sink at them, Loughmore just wouldn't wilt. It was exemplified by Ciaran Connolly's engine in midfield, John Meagher's power at centre back, Liam McGrath's hassling up the wing. We could stay going but there's no point because, his voice trembling with the emotion of it all, we couldn't sum it up as well as Brian McGrath did on Tipp FM at the final whistle.

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"Every week, playing with those lads," he said, "there's no better feeling. It's some enjoyment. I've never enjoyed a club championship as much. Every week, out with the boys, there's no better feeling and we absolutely love it.

"I'd do it all again. Everything we've gone through, last year. I'd do it all again. As Noel said in his speech, it's his proudest moment and I'm absolutely delighted for him. There's no-one else deserves that more. By God, to play with them lads there week on week, it's so enjoyable and I absolutely love it."

It was this passion, this camaraderie and this will that inspired them when the going got tough. It doesn't get much tougher than it was for a finish as, with players from both sides running on adrenaline, a good 40 seconds passed with 20 players hunting down a little white ball lost in a ruck. Thurles didn't die. Loughmore didn't die. John McGrath eventually won the breaking ball and it was fitting, after the finest dual club championship campaign known to man, that he pucked the last ball of the day.

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Loughmore-Castleiney have done it again.