Friday 25 May 2018

Niall McNamee 'envious and embarrassed' by €8m Tyrone training camp

Offaly footballer Niall McNamee
Offaly footballer Niall McNamee
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Niall McNamee admits he was "envious and embarrassed" after coming away from a visit to Tyrone's €8m training complex in Garvaghey last week.

The Offaly footballer was in Omagh to give a talk in a school on gambling awareness and pulled up to view the state-of-the-art facility.

The Offaly hurlers and footballers had to find suitable facilities outside the county to train earlier this year and seeing Garvaghey only served to underline for him "how far we (Offaly) are behind everything".

"If you were a child growing up in Tyrone now and went and saw that that's where their senior team is training, you would put everything in your life to get there, to make that senior team. It's absolutely incredible," he said.

"If you look at the likes of Cork, the likes of Dublin, there's no issue with these lads. They're getting everything laid on a plate for them.

"We train all over the place. It depends. We're training tonight in Tullamore but I could get a phone call at 4.30 to say that's changed to Ferbane."

McNamee feels their current plight over training facilities raises questions about the money invested in O'Connor Park in Tullamore, one of the best-equipped grounds in the country.


"Looking back, it probably should have been put into something else. I'd often ask the question then, would the Leinster Council or someone be able to fund an all-weather pitch on the outskirts of Offaly and say, 'look, that's a base'?

"It's not necessarily Offaly's, but at least then you can set up a base.

"It's the middle of the country. You can have teams coming from Leinster and Connacht to meet and actually play games there. It's a bit like what they have in Loman's (Mullingar).

"I don't know if that's being done, if at county board level they're actually seeking out and looking for that kind of money or that kind of support.

"It looks to me that it's all being done on a day-to-day basis. There's no actual forward planning."

McNamee, who is studying part-time for a diploma in business coaching, has gained strength from his recovery from a gambling addiction and has become a regular point of contact for others in similar distress.

"It's very easy to sit down with someone and have a cup of tea and chat about the weather and meaningless stuff," he said.

"But actually getting deep into the conversation about how things are going for a person on a day-to-day level (is different) and that's what this is all about, because you're training with 30-plus lads every week and there's probably still a problem in a lot of counties that players still don't know each other that well."

Irish Independent

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