by Peter Scherer
Even the NHS Allstars teams will need managers and on this occasion the men for the job are Ted McMinn and Mickleover’s own boss John McGrath.
As a young 16 year old McGrath was a star of Irish youth side Belvedere, who won the FAI Youth Cup, Leinster Youth Cup and Under 18 Premier League.
The success brought him to the attention of Premiership club Aston Villa, who he joined in 1999.
He made two Premiership starts before going out on loan to Conference side Dagenham & Redbridge in November 2002. 31 games and two goals were accumulated as he saw out the rest of the season, before joining newly returned to the Football League, Doncaster Rovers.
As part of the squad that won the squad that won the Third Division title, he made 14 appearances.
A loan spell at League 2 Shrewsbury then preceded a permanent move to fellow League 2 club Kidderminster Harriers. It was only a short stay and after 19 games he was released and returned to Ireland to see out the season with Limerick in the League of Ireland First Division.
He scored against Athlone Town but returned to England in 2006 with Conference South club Weymouth Town. His 13 games and 3 goals helped the club take the league title, but McGrath was on the move again to Conference National’s Tamworth.
It was a one season stay with five goals in his 48 games, before his long association with Burton Albion began.
He was player of the year in his first season as a Brewers player and won the Conference Premier title in the second. Continuing as a regular first choice in midfield, he totalled 247 appearances and scored 20 goals as Burton became established Football League members.
After six years at Burton he had a short loan spell at York City and then joined Alfreton Town for 2013/14. He had one season there before joining Mickleover as a player initially, taking over the reins a year later to remain as player/manager.
He also gained International honours with the Republic of Ireland Under 21’s, making five appearances.
All donations raised for the match will go straight to the NHS.