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Teenage star reveals fight with cancer – and encourages others to get checked

Declan Daly wasn’t supposed to take a penalty for Galway United in the final of the U-15 Oakham Cup in England earlier this month, when the decider between themselves and Manchester United went to spot kicks.

But he made no mistake from twelve yards as Galway United clinched a famous 4-3 win to lift the cup in a tournament which also featured the likes of England Schoolboys, New York City, Leicester, Norwich City, and a team from Dubai.

That joy was a long way from the start of the year, when Declan lay in a hospital bed in Dublin, hooked up to an intravenous drip as chemotherapy was pumped into his body after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Thankfully, his body responded brilliantly to the treatment, but rather than put it all in the past, he wants to share his cancer story to encourage people – and young men in particular – to check themselves regularly and, more importantly, to talk to someone if they find something wrong.

“November last year, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, it was a Monday, November 22,” says the student from St Mary’s College – or Coláiste Muire Máthair – who is starting Fifth Year next week.

“I was in school on the Friday before, I played a senior game for the school, and I had very bad pain in my back but I played the full game.

“The Saturday and Sunday, I was destroyed, I just couldn’t move, the pain was so bad in my lower back, so on the Monday I went to the doctor and they said ‘okay, you need to go to the hospital quick’ so I did, they did some tests and said ‘okay, you’ve got cancer’,” says Declan, who turns 16 next month.

“I knew there was something there, I had found something there before – now I know what it was, and it can happen to anyone.”

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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