Well this image exploded!
It was a special moment though and one that I felt I had to capture in some way. ‘Hurler on the Ditch’ strips usually have some comical (to just me maybe!) element to it. This one told a different story.
Watching it at home on my couch, the game was already special in itself but Noel McGrath stepping on to the Croker sod again, in the 62nd minute, added an extra element to the occasion. A man - a young man - who had just come back from a battle with testicular cancer - was thrown into the heat of this contest played out before our eyes. A lump in the throat moment then as all supporters applauded him onto the field. He wasn’t sent on for wholly sentimental reasons either. The sides were level and he was needed to win the game for Tipp. He almost did too!
At first I had planned on just an image of Noel McGrath but I thought the whole story and background to it could be told better in a strip. The quote, I partially took from the TV series “Friday Night Lights” and just reworded a little. The story seemed to touch a lot of people (over 3000 likes unbelievably).
Then cancer does touch a lot of people too.
My own father died 7 years ago, aged 54, from a very short battle with cancer. He died the night before Kilkenny’s 3-in-a-row All-Ireland win against Waterford actually. Being a proud Wexfordman, that would probably have killed him anyway but for the oul cancer getting there first!
But, as Noel McGrath showed that Sunday….there are some battles you win!
Download a free Hi-Res poster of it here to print off yourself at home