Noel's qualities as a hurler are universally recognized but his return to good health is more important than any game (he is also a top class Gaelic footballer, but the people in control of Gaelic games in the county would not entertain the idea of a player playing both codes at top level — an attitude that also prevails in some other counties). It is always sad to hear of somebody touched by serious illness, but in the case of a young man of the caliber of Noel McGrath, it was a terrible shock.
The McGrath family from Loughmore-Castleiney have a proud tradition of service to Tipperary GAA. Noel's grand-father and grand-uncles played with Tipperary senior and junior football teams in the late forties and fifties. His father, Pat, played in all grades of hurling with Tipperary teams; he also played on Tipperary football teams. Pat's brother, Tom, played on the Tipperary senior football team from 1975 to 1985. He also was a member of a Tipperary Intermediate hurling team. Tom is, at present, a great reporter on Gaelic games for local radio station Tipp FM; when you hear his account you know you are listening to the voice of a true Tipperary GAA person.
Finally, I want to wish Noel all the luck in the world for his future; good health and more sporting success!