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Noel McGrath recalls using WhatsApp to tell team-mates about his cancer

The Tipperary hurler was a guest on Wednesday night’s Second Captains Live.

McGrath on Second Captains Live.
McGrath on Second Captains Live.
Image: RTE Player

TIPPERARY HURLER NOEL McGrath has spoken openly about the utter shock he felt after being diagnosed with testicular cancer earlier this year.

“I was just gutted,” the two-time All-Star said during an appearance on Second Captains Live on Wednesday night. “All the thoughts are going through your head. You don’t know if you’re coming or going.”

The 24-year-old centre-forward underwent surgery back in April and says he was thankful to have loved ones close by to help him through those dark days.

“Look, there were good people around me,” he said. “The family at home and friends as well. It was good to have them around as they give you a bit of support and I got many texts and phone calls.

“It does help but at the end of it all you just have to try and get your head around it and get through it as best you can.”

Having informed his mother and family about the illness, the Loughmore-Castleiney clubman wanted to let his club and intercounty team-mates hear the news from him before it spread — so opted to use messaging app WhatsApp.

“It was on a Monday when I found out and I rang a few of my close friends from Loughmore and we had a chat,” he rememebers. “We were training on the Wednesday and the lads were going to find out anyway so I just wanted to let them know myself.

On the Tuesday I just threw it up on the WhatsApp group. It’s the easiest way to do it if you’re trying to contact anyone these days!

“Plenty of the boys rang and text back with well-wishes and they were there for most of the journey along — the club lads and the Tipp lads as well.”

Noel McGrath introduced as a second half sub McGrath making his return for Tipperary in August. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

After undergoing chemotherapy, McGrath returned to training with the Tipp panel in June and made a remarkable comeback for the Premier County as a substitute in the All-Ireland senior hurling championship semi-final, which they narrowly lost to Galway.

He has praised the good work that campaigns like Movember, which he has lent his support to, are doing to raise awareness and urged young men to take better care of their health.

It wouldn’t have crossed my mind until this year but since then I’ve heard a lot of Irish men don’t like talking about things like that,” he said.

“The Movember campaign that’s coming up in the the next few weeks is something that highlights it and they have been doing a lot of good work over the last few years raising a lot of money.

“They’re making people aware that it is okay to speak up because at the end of the day it is your health and if you don’t look after yourself nobody else is going to do it for you.”

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Ben Blake

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