Tipperary Supporters Club

Founded 1986

Co. Tipperary

Hurling genius Noel McGrath brings style and substance to his Tipperary team!

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Source: TipperaryLive.ie

Style is nothing without substance, the great poet Emily Dickenson explained to us and Noel McGrath has both in abundance on the hurling field. Once more the hurling version of Zinedine Zidane was peerless, this time against a physical Limerick centrefield and half back line. 

Be it in centre field or the half forward line - or helping out the backs - it was Noel McGrath the playmaker popping up to support a teammate or change the angle of attack against Limerick. The free reign Liam Cahill is giving his captain this year is ensuring McGrath is always in the right place at the right time. 

He struck two points today, one an exquisite sideline. The Tipperary captain is having an outstanding championship again. With his flicks of the ball, hand passing, score taking and strikes, very few can compare. His drive inspires others.

Since he burst on the scene as a sixteen year old and hit point after point to win a county final for Loughmore (and Munster club title after that) Noel McGrath has been a key player for club and county teams.

Three All-Ireland's later and after overcoming cancer, Noel is as good as ever. He has been around for years and sometimes we take his greatness for granted be it kicking ball for Loughmore or playing hurling. This year people are paying more attention, as he is consistently brilliant game after game.

A leader on and off the field, last year he was Tipperary's top player in the championship. Last year in Limerick after Tipp tasted defeat, Noel gave a rallying cry that Tipperary could muster something from the year. This was long after many others had given up the ghost. He believed in the players just as he believes in giving everything for the jersey.

Hurling wise he is excellent, but thinking wise he is on another level. This year, against Cork, he gathered a ball in space and somehow fed it into space for a teammate to run on to. The crowd cheered after they realised what his plan was, but though they didn't understand, they never doubted.

No one else in hurling has the vision to play the kind of ball he can, perhaps with the exception of Cian Lynch or Kyle Hayes or TJ Reid.

Today it was Noel, the captain and playmaker, leading the charge for Tipp. In the second half, when the stress levels and nervousness of everyone went up, Noel was still playing the right ball. A beautiful overhead pass to a teammate in space (which ended up a Tipperary point) out by the Ryan Stand sideline was hurling beauty at its best.

"Days like this are what you train for, what you live for as a hurler," he told me after the Wexford championship game in 2019 and you get the feeling he lives for that moment in the day that is in front of him. It keeps him grounded in the moment. The next ball. The next score. What a captain!

Tipperary are hurling in his likeness this year. Next game now next weekend, what a buzz for supporters to watch Noel hurl every day like it is his last.

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