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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 18 January, 2020
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Savouring being a Munster champion with his brothers after a tough 2015

Noel McGrath appreciated Tipperary’s success on Sunday.

John, Brian and Noel McGrath celebrate a great day for Tipperary hurling.
John, Brian and Noel McGrath celebrate a great day for Tipperary hurling.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IT WAS HIS fourth time being part of a victorious Munster senior hurling outfit but last Sunday held extra significance for Noel McGrath.

When Tipperary won the provincial title against Waterford in 2015, McGrath was watching on.

In April last year it was revealed that he was to undergo surgery for testicular cancer but four months later his remarkable recovery saw him come off the bench to a rapturous ovation in the All-Ireland semi-final against Galway.

And 2016 has seen McGrath back as a key figure for Tipperary, lining out on Sunday at the Gaelic Grounds as they saw off Waterford again.

“You hear stories and you think it’s never going to happen to you. Then it’s just thrown on you in the space of a few hours. You’re going to be down but you have to deal with it and get right.

“Luckily I had good people around me from the medical team to my club to Tipperary to friends, family and everything. So it meant a lot to me and it helped me get back.

“This time 12 months ago I was just hoping to give myself every chance to get fit and if I made it back, I made it back. If not, it wasn’t going to be the end of the world, thankfully I did.

“I suppose getting a full run at it this year so far without any injuries has been good to me as well so I’m happy with that. Definitely you’re going to enjoy winning a Munster final any time no matter what the circumstances are, Sunday was no different.”

It was a special afternoon for the McGrath family. Noel’s brother John fired a hat-trick in his first Munster senior final appearance and was rewarded with the man-of-the-match award for his efforts.

Younger brother Brian showed his hurling worth by captaining Tipperary to triumph from centre-back in the minor curtain-raiser.

“Look, for a first Munster final, you couldn’t ask for more than getting three goals in a Munster final,” admits Noel.

“He’s fairly relaxed about it and just taking it in and enjoying it. He’ll be brought back down to earth on Sunday against Moycarkey, it’ll be a different ball game.

“It’s obviously nice to have your brothers playing on the same day and especially on a day like Sunday when the two teams won.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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