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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 18 April, 2019
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A remarkable day for Tipp hurling, a remarkable day for the McGrath family

Noel, John and Brian McGrath were all celebrating All-Ireland wins on Sunday night.

Brian McGrath lifts the cup Brian McGrath captained Tipp's minors to victory over Limerick... Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

John McGrath and Noel McGrath celebrate ...before older brothers John and Noel completed the historic double. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

THE TIPPERARY HURLERS spoke of the six years between senior All-Ireland titles as if it was an eternity.

In that case, the 67-year gap back to 1949 and the last time the Premier won the minor/senior double must have seemed impossible to put into perspective.

So Sunday was a historic day for those who wear blue and gold as they celebrated famous wins against Limerick and Kilkenny in quick succession in Croke Park.

For the McGraths of Loughmore-Castleiney, it was a day to be particularly savoured with Brian captaining the county’s minors to victory in the curtain-raiser before the seniors took centre stage and Noel, already an All-Ireland winner in 2010, combined with younger brother John to bring Liam MacCarthy back.

One of the outstanding performers of the summer, John finished his debut championship in the same emphatic form as he had started, rattling a brilliant 1-3 past Kilkenny in his first All-Ireland final.

The 22-year-old, who was named on The Sunday Game’s Team of the Year and also picked by Michael Duignan as Hurler of the Year, will surely be one of the top contenders when the All-Stars are handed out later this year.

For Noel, this must surely have been one of the sweetest days of his career, coming just 17 months after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

“I could never have dreamed this would happen to me,” he admitted on Sunday night as the celebrations started at the Burlington Hotel.

Do they know how to party in Loughmore-Castleiney, Marty Morrissey enquired.

Whatever reception the McGraths are expecting, you can multiply it by three.

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Niall Kelly

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