Noel McGrath gave it everything to be a Tipperary starter

After missing out on Tipperary’s Munster SHC-winning campaign last year, Noel McGrath was hellbent on ensuring he was going to be a starting player in Sunday’s competition opener.

The 25-year-old returned to the Tipperary panel last June after being diagnosed with testicular cancer two months earlier. He made a playing comeback as a scoring substitute in the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway.

But he admits not winning a provincial medal last season was disappointing. “I didn’t play any Munster championship and the boys did a serious job then so I was mad to get back in the action. I gave my all for the last few weeks to be out on the field (on Sunday) and thankfully I was. It’s all game on again now for Limerick. There’s going to be 35 lads pushing for places again and that’s the way you want it to be. It’s great to be involved in that.”

McGrath was glad Tipperary were able to put their middling league campaign behind them with the win over their rivals. “We wanted to go as well as we could in the league but at the end of the day when championship comes around, it’s all forgotten and you just want to get that going.

“Nobody will remember the league quarter-final at the end of the year. We were disappointed with the league but when championship comes, it’s a different story.

“We were looking at the Cork game as massive, one in which we just wanted to get a result from.”

The Loughmore-Castleiney man made light of the disparity of styles between the counties in Thurles. “Different teams set up in different ways. You’ve to play to your own strengths.

“We play our way and the other team plays their way. To be honest, we just go out to give the best for our team.”

For the fifth year running, Tipperary face Limerick in June 19’s semi-final, with the current record reading two wins each.

Limerick have not lost their first Munster game since going down to Tipperary in 2012 and McGrath is wary of the punch they pack.

“We haven’t thought anything about Limerick because we had Cork in our heads the whole time coming up to this game.

“We’ll regroup and have four weeks to the Limerick game and in that time I’m sure we’ll have a good look at them.

“We’ve played Limerick the last few years and they’ve turned us over twice so it will be a serious challenge them coming to Thurles.”


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