A JUNIOR rugby league player’s career is now blossoming after he beat cancer.

The town’s sporting community rallied around Rylands Sharks youngster Joe McGann in 2017 when the then nine-year-old was diagnosed with a carcinoid tumour.

An outpouring of support saw amateur clubs raise huge sums for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool and London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he underwent a lifesaving operation the following year.

Warrington Guardian:

Only a week after the trachea surgery, he led Warrington Wolves out as mascot during a home game against Leeds Rhinos.

Now joint captain of St Helens-based outfit Blackbrook Royals alongside St Helens legend James Roby’s son Olly, the 13-year-old – from Grappenhall – was named man of the match at his side beat Woolston Rovers in the u13s North West Counties Final at Pilkington Recs’ Ruskin Drive ground.

Warrington Guardian:

Proud granddad Tony Gandy said: “What a remarkable achievement for young Joe.

“It was three years ago when he had surgery for a major illness then fought back to playing rugby league for Rylands.

“Now he’s 13 and plying his trade at Blackbrook Royals.

“Joe is joint captain with Olly Roby, James Roby’s son.

“On Sunday, October 3, they played Woolston Rovers in the u13s North West Counties Final at Pilkington Recs.

“Blackbrook won the game 24-4 and Joe picked up the man of the match award.”

Having been in and out of Warrington Hospital with a persistent wheeze since November 2016, the former Thelwall Community Junior School pupil was diagnosed after a CT scan at Alder Hey in May 2017.

Warrington Guardian:

In action before his diagnosis in 2017

Rylands, Woolston Rovers, Crosfields and Culcheth Eagles were among the clubs who rushed to help, while Joe was also invited to attend the Wire's captain's run and met the England team when he travelled to Australia for the Rugby League World Cup – even being invited into the dressing rooms after one game.