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Jamie McGrath, here trying his luck against Qarabað FK during the first leg, is hopeful Dundalk can prosper in Azerbaijan. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Jamie McGrath is breaking new ground by preparing to play a competitive Champions League qualifier in Azerbaijan.
As a professional footballer from Meath, he’s already used to taking unfamiliar journeys. McGrath is from a GAA heartland, with Blackburn’s Darragh Lenihan last year becoming the first Irish senior international to hail from the county.
Last week’s Festival of Football brought the FAI roadshow to McGrath’s locality and it allowed him to reflect on how he’s a trailblazer in his own right.
He was invited back to his old club Athboy Celtic last Thursday, with Mick McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor visiting as part of their Royal tour.
McGrath was given a special mention from the stage and got to chat with McCarthy about his trip to Oriel Park the previous night. “He said it’s all to play for,” smiles McGrath, who gained belated international recognition at U-21 level last year.
“It was a proud moment for me to be there. I got a shout-out from the chairman. To see all the local kids and to be an idol for th
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