Thursday 14 December 2017

Rhode heartbeat McNamee still putting best foot forward

Alan McNamee. Photo: Sportsfile
Alan McNamee. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney

When speaking to Alan 'Super' McNamee off the pitch, it's hard to believe the transformation which takes place when he crosses the white lines with the towering Rhode midfielder regularly controlling a game's tempo while efficiently organising his troops.

A great servant to Offaly during his inter-county career, McNamee has experienced the highs of Division 1 football and the lows of Division 4 but club football has always allowed him to dine at the top table.

Since making his debut in 1998 and immediately getting his hands on Offaly's Dowling Cup aged 16, he has pocketed nine county medals, captaining all three title wins during their three-in-a-row from 2004-2006.

His passion has never diminished and with cousins Ruairí and Conor McNamee now establishing themselves, there's a renewed enthusiasm in the village.

"We've been very lucky, we've had some great teams and every year bar one we've been in a semi-final since I started playing. There was a lot of county medals in Rhode growing up so we never lacked motivation," McNamee (left) said.

"We were successful at underage growing up and thankfully that winning mentality has continued on. And the young lads coming through now seem to buy into it as well. We've got a talented bunch but they're a dedicated bunch.

"Every night they go to the field they want to improve and lads feed off that, feed off one another. We push each other on and that feeds into matches attitude."

Despite his advancing years, McNamee (34) is still the heartbeat of a Rhode side desperately hoping to finally break their Leinster Club SFC duck after four final defeats.

There'll be no such talk just yet, however, with Sean O'Mahony's awaiting in the last four this weekend in Drogheda. But with McNamee's younger brother Niall shooting the lights out in attack, they'll be expected to survive.

"The only driving factor is this game on Sunday, one game at a time like we said at the start of the year and that mantra has served us well so far so we're not going to go away from it at this stage of the year."

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