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'Your body sinks, it's just that word' - Noel McGrath gives first interview since cancer diagnosis

The Tipperary hurler made a dramatic return to the pitch after surgery and chemotherapy.

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TIPPERARY HURLING STAR Noel McGrath has publicly spoken about his testicular cancer battle for the first time.

The Loughmore-Castleiney clubman was diagnosed last April but made a dramatic scoring return to action as a substitute in the epic All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway.

McGrath has this evening been announced as an ambassador for Movember foundation, which encourages men to be more open about Men’s Health issues.

“There was good people around me and people helped me big time through it. That Monday evening, I decided to ring Eamon O’Shea, the Tipp manager,” the 24-year-old says. “Obviously, I had to let him know if I wasn’t going to be training the next day or whatever.

“The Tipp county board put out a statement on the Wednesday morning which I suppose it put an end to a lot of people speculating and wondering what this true or not. I didn’t get any phone call or no bother from people; I got hundreds of well wishes and text messages off people wishing me the best and supporting me and I was very grateful for that.”

“There was just a lump on my testicle. It was just very abnormal; it’s something that you would notice very quickly. I knew straight away that there was something not right then.”

Source: Movember Foundation/YouTube

McGrath was introduced by O’Shea against Galway last time out and quickly reintroduced himself, scoring what looked like being a crucial point.

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“At the back of my mind, I always wanted to try and get back and hurl for Tipp,” he says. “I wanted to hurl for my club Loughmore-Castleiney while at the same time knowing I had to watch myself health-wise first. Watching on, you just want to get out there.

“When Eamon gave me the call to come in, I was just mad to get on and get in and help out try get over the line. I remember being called from the bench, doing a two or three minute warm up up the line. Eamon had a word with me then about where I was going then and what he wanted from me. I just knew I had to get to the far corner. I had to get the whole way across the field and pick up my man.

“At the time I was totally blank and oblivious to what was going on because all I wanted to do was get out and hurl.”

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