Cork GAA mourns deaths of Dennigan, McGrath
By Jim O’Sullivan
The GAA in Cork is mourning the death of two prominent figures who gave outstanding service in their respective fields over a lengthy period.
Fermoy native Jimmy Dennigan was one of only six men from the county to referee an All-Ireland senior football final, while Joe McGrath was hugely involved in coaching.
McGrath, who was born in Down, was at the helm when Limerick beat Tipperary at the Cork Athletic Grounds in 1971 to win the National Hurling League title for the first time in 24 years.
At the time he was Managing Director of Molex in Shannon and after the company established a base in Millstreet, he became involved with Blackrock in late 1972.
Credited with revolutionising training sessions – “he was an extremely professional coach,” said former secretary and chairman Tom O’Sullivan – he guided the club to county championship victories in 1973, 1975, 1978 and 1979, and to All-Ireland club successes in ’74 and ’79.
In 1983, he coached the Cork senior footballers when they scored a dramatic victory in the Munster final in Pairc Uí Chaoimh, denying Kerry and Mick O’Dwyer a record ninth consecutive provincial title.
He was also involved with other club teams, including Sarsfields and from 1995 until early last year he worked as full-time coach for the South-East Division.
Dennigan represented Cork at minor, junior and senior level before taking up refereeing.
The highlight of his career was the 1986 All-Ireland senior final between Kerry and Tyrone – on a day when he was also a selector with the Cork team which played Galway in the minor final.
Between 1968 and 1981 he refereed seven Cork county football finals, also taking charge of deciders in Limerick and Waterford.
He travelled on the 1981 All Stars tour, refereed in the League and at championship level in minor, U21, club and senior both at provincial and national level.