THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE PJ McGrath from Kilmaine is pictured with Offaly captain Richie O'Connor and Kerry captain John Egan before the start of the 1982 All-Ireland Senior Football Final at Croke Park. Pic: Sportsfile
FORMER Mayo GAA Board chairman, PJ McGrath, will be inducted into The Mayo News/O’Neills Club Stars ‘Hall of Fame’ next month.
The 76 year-old Kilmaine native was selected for the prestigious accolade by the Club Stars judging panel to mark decades of dedicated service to his club and Mayo GAA during a long and distinguished career as a player, GAA administrator and referee.
PJ McGrath will be presented with the award on Saturday, January 19 at the charity fund-raising event in Knockranny House Hotel, Westport.
All proceeds from this year’s awards are being donated to Enable Ireland, Mayo Services.
PJ is probably best-known as the man who refereed the famous 1982 All-Ireland senior football final between Kerry and Offaly, in which Seamus Darby’s late goal denied Kerry the five in a row.
He was also the chairman of the Mayo GAA Board from 1997 to 2002.
In his earlier years PJ played club football with his native Kilmaine, and was a member of the Mayo senior panel in 1966. PJ also played full-back on that year’s Mayo junior team.
PJ and his wife Phil have lived in Claremorris for many years.
McGrath took up refereeing in 1965 and finished in 1997 after 32 years refereeing at every level – local, national and international. He refereed countless games overseas, in places like England, Singapore, Australia and America. He famously took charge of the 1982 All-Ireland senior final, as well as two All-Ireland minor finals, four Vocational schools finals, Railway Cup finals, national club finals, league games and International Rules games.
He has also been involved in GAA administration, having served as president of the Connacht Council and chairman of the National Referees’ Committee, and was chairman of Mayo GAA Board from 1997 to 2002. He also served on numerous sub-committees.
McGrath says that Dr Michael Loftus and the late John Maloney from Tipperary were the greatest influences on his decision to take up refereeing.
The Club Stars Team of the Year will be revealed on Friday, January 19, as well as the ‘Players of the Year’ in the Senior, Intermediate and Junior Football Championships respectively.
The ‘Young Player of the Year’, ‘Personality of the Year, ‘Volunteer of the Year’, ‘Hurling Recognition Award’ and Special Achievement award winners will also be honoured.