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Missed chance for GAA season and no major recovery needed after 'ball sent bone through skin'

Offally football star Niall McNamee dislocated his finger at training but should be healed by next week.

Updated Apr 29th 2021, 12:01 PM

OFFALY GAA STAR Niall McNamee has suggested that the Association missed an opportunity this year to combine the league and championship in a Champions League format.

aib-the-hidden-problem-launch Offaly footballer Niall McNamee. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

McNamee’s side will begin their National Football League campaign on 16 May with a trip to Aughrim to face Wicklow. The competition has been reconfigured this year due to the pandemic, with teams being split into regional divisions, which puts Offaly in the Division 3 South table.

Similar to last year, a knockout football championship will take place in the 2021 season but McNamee believes that there was an opportunity to opt for a different route this year.

“I thought there was definitely an opportunity to link the league and championship, or else have an open draw. Let’s be honest, bar Ulster maybe, but even at that the provincial championships, the draws, there’s no excitement in it. It’s very hard to market it.

“It’s just the same thing year in, year out. And you had an opportunity this year to do that. It’s a one-off, similar to last year, but this year even more-so because it’s going to be played during the summer where you could have had an open draw, you could have done a Champions League style, groups of three or whatever it was.

“You could have linked the league into championship. There could have been loads of stuff you could have done. And no one would have batted an eye-lid, because they’re just mad for football. It doesn’t have to be a long-term thing. So it would have been nice to see a bit of a change on it.

“There obviously is going to be a bit of change down the line. But it’s a democratic organisation, and these things have to go through all the processes. Sometimes these things take a lot of time unfortunately. So it is what it is. The knockout is a bit of a pity as well.

McNamee added:

“But you can’t have it every way. Club players want to be back as well. Our club are doing Zoom trainings online, they’re mad to get back into the pitch. So it’s very, very difficult to cater for everybody.

“Hopefully over the next year or so we might get a clearer vision on what the championship is going to look like, make it better for everyone because the club player is very important in all of this as well, probably more-so. To try and get that balance will be challenging but hopefully they can get there.”

niall-mcnamee McNamee enjoying training with Offaly. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The Rhode star is back in the Offaly fold again for 2021 after coming out of retirement in 2019 to return to the squad.

He dislocated his finger at a recent training session after a ball landed awkwardly on his finger, but he’s confident that it will be fully recovered by next week.

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“We were back last Tuesday night and Tuesday, I was tired enough during the day and I was going ‘Jesus, do I have it in me to go back here again?’ Where I’m living now is about an hour drive from Kilcormac but when I got down there, I was like a spring lamb going out on the field.

“Had a bit of an accident, a ball landed on my finger and sent the bone out through the skin as well so were worried about it at the time, but I think we’ll be alright. By early next week, we’ll get the stitching out and it should be good to go.

“Listen I’m looking forward to it now, it gives everyone a bit of a boost and hopefully we’ll get the clubs back in a few weeks as well. Great to see the kids back as well this week, the nice evenings and all so yeah, hopefully it will be a good summer.”

Niall McNamee was speaking to the media to promote the Extern Problem Gambling.
If you or someone you know needs help with dealing with gambling, you can get help and support now by sending a text to Extern Problem Gambling on 089 241 5401 (ROI) or 07537142265 (NI). For more details, please visit: https://www.problemgambling.ie/

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