A COLLECTION of medals won by a GAA star who won hurling and Gaelic Football medals for his county got top price of €28,500 at a Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers timed sale.
The Incredible Leonard McGrath Galway Dual; Star GAA Collection attracted huge attention at the sale which realised over €120,000 on the hammer and 85% of items were sold.
McGrath also played rugby and was a member of the winning Galwegians team beating UCG 3-0 in the 1926-’27 season.
This brought it a caveat. He was duly expelled from the GAA for playing a ‘Foreign Sport’.
He was a highly regarded singer and participated in many Feis Ceoils and other singing competitions.
He excelled at golf and cricket. A true all-rounder on and off the field, a forgotten member of Irish sport.
Leonard was born in Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia.
As a young boy he returned to his parents’ native land and was reared in Galway.
He qualified as a teacher in 1918 at St Patrick’s College. In 1922 he came to the fore and was a member of the Galway Senior Hurling XV that won a Connacht title.
He was subsequently chosen and starred at full forward to win Galway’s first hurling All-Ireland.
He showed his versatility in sports by also being chosen to represent his adopted county in football and played on the winning 1925 team which also was the county’s first title in football.
He became the county’s first dual star, and only player to achieve success in both codes.
McGrath is a member of an elite group of only 16 players to achieve this accolade, in the GAA’s long history.
Keeping with a GAA theme, a match programme from the 1926 GAA All-Ireland Hurling final, Kilkenny v Cork realised €1,200 on the hammer.
A programme for the 1931 Kilkenny v Cork realised €1,600 on the hammer.