TJ Reid's ability to create space and occupy key defenders is as much a strength as his ability to split the posts, according to Derek McGrath.

The Kilkenny sharpshooter will be the focal point in Brian Cody's attack once again in 2021, especially with the absence of Colin Fennelly from the panel.

The Ballyhale man has already plundered 1-25 in two league outings – he missed the round two victory over Antrim.

With the game trending towards more frees and higher scoring, a free-taker of the ilk of Reid is worth his weight in gold, but speaking on the RTÉ GAA podcast, former Waterford manager McGrath insists the 33-year-old offers much more to the Kilkenny attack and believes he has been used to maximum effect on the sideline.

"Kilkenny are using him very cleverly at full-forward," he said.

"Even in the All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick a couple of years ago, he went in corner-forward on Sean Finn for a few minutes.

"He went in on Declan Hannon, then he went to wing-forward on Dan Morrissey.

"He’s used really well."

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According to McGrath, the preoccupation with defenders regarding the five-time All Star and former Hurler of the Year creates opportunities for others.

He recalled Ballyhale’s All-Ireland club semi-final defeat of Ballygunner in 2019 where Philip Mahony was detailed to pick up Reid.

The centre-back dutifully followed the gifted forward around the pitch with the likes of Eoin Cody and Adrian Mullen profiting from the extra space.

Reid raised just one white flag from play, but McGrath considers it one of his greatest performances.

"It’s like Joe Canning with Galway. You put all your focus on him over the years and next minute he is withdrawn, 100 yards from goal, and brings someone with him and its game over because the space has been created.

"He has that ability."

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