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Dublin: 17°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

Tipperary hurler returns from brain tumour to help club into county final

Eddie Connolly took ill last year but returned today as Loughmore-Castleiney made the Tipperary SHC final.

File photo of Eddie Connolly, who returned from a brain tumour to play for Loughmore-Castleiney today.
File photo of Eddie Connolly, who returned from a brain tumour to play for Loughmore-Castleiney today.

LOUGHMORE-CASTLEINEY BOOKED their place in the Tipperary SHC final earlier today after a comprehensive win against Mullinahone but one moment that had fans of both teams cheering in agreement was the return of Eddie Connolly to the field for the winners.

Connolly was diagnosed with a brain tumour after last year’s county semi-final win against Borrisoleigh and the former Tipperary All-Ireland intermediate winning captain had to undergo surgery.

After a year of recovery, Connolly was well enough to take his place on the bench for Loughmore-Castleiney today and he received a rousing reception from everyone at Semple Stadium when he was introduced in injury-time.

“When he came on, the whole stand erupted and every man and woman stood up to applaud,” Loughmore-Castleiney chairman Dick Egan said.

“Even the opposition fans were cheering and some Thurles Sarsfields and Templederry players who played the other semi-final applauded too.”

The Tipperary hurling community rallied around Connolly once the news of his illness came out, with their senior hurling team organising a fundraising run for St. Luke’s cancer hospital in Dublin.

Egan says that Connolly got some good news from doctors last week, and everyone in the community was delighted to see him back playing hurling.

“It was basically his first day back hurling today because he was only given the news of the tumour being reduced last Monday or Tuesday,” Egan said.

“Whatever medication he’s been on seems to be working.”

Thurles Sarsfields will provide the opposition for Loughmore-Castleiney in next Sunday’s county final, as Connolly looks to complete a dream comeback. Egan very much enjoyed seeing him back on the field and thought it was the perfect return – almost.

“The lads tried to get the ball to him so he could knock over a point and that would have been the icing on the cake,” Egan said.

“Unfortunately he didn’t get one but whenever training is this week he will be there and sure to be involved next week.”

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