Sunday 15 September 2019

Latest success a perfect 10 for McNamee

McNamee: "Days like this are what makes it and having big games to look forward to." Picture credit: Pat Murphy / Sportsfile

Brian Lowry

When the final whistle went in Bord Na Móna O'Connor Park on Sunday, Rhode celebrated a record 28th Offaly senior football championship, overtaking Tullamore at the top of the roll of honour.

Manager Paschal Kellaghan won seven senior championships as a player with Rhode and on Sunday guided them to his second as manager and their first back-to-back titles since 2006.

"Tullamore are the most successful GAA club between hurling and football but in terms of football, today we got there," Kellaghan said.

"There is something remarkable in a way and this is not arrogance but with such a small area, we have only a two-mile radius at the crossroads and have two other clubs in our parish.

On an individual front, there was another record bestowed upon them with Alan McNamee becoming the first man to win 10 Offaly senior football championships, overtaking a record of nine held by Ferbane's Pat Doyle who won his last in 1994.

McNamee won his first in 1998 and Sunday was his 18th senior football county final, including two replays. Despite having plenty of miles on the clock, the midfielder is still as hungry as ever.

"It definitely does help (winning). I am still enjoying playing and training. Going training can be tough some nights and you might say to yourself, 'why are you still doing this?' but days like this are what makes it and having big games to look forward too.

"To get Rhode to number 28 was the big thing today. It is obviously a great achievement to get to 10 medals.

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"Just a word about Pat Doyle, I have heard a lot about him, he was a great man to train and I have heard great stories about him."

Hot on his heels on nine senior county medals are a group of Rhode players that include his brother Niall. His younger sibling has set many a game alight and his haul of eight points on Sunday in their 0-12 to 0-9 win over Clara earned him the man-of-the-match award and was his ninth final to finish as top scorer.

McNamee, who retired from inter-county football recently, was full of praise for his brother and believes that the magnitude of his achievement won't sink in for some time to come.

"It is going to be so hard to beat it now. He has been around a long time now and it is unbelievable going to get to 10 medals. We are all just really proud of him, it was his 18th final today and all his life has been dedicated to Rhode," proclaimed Niall.

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