McNamee breaks Tullamore hearts with stunning late goal for Rhode
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Niall McNamee hadn't enjoyed his finest hour in a Rhode jersey but doesn't that just say it all.
The chips were down but, with the stakes at their highest, the Offaly icon was still showing for the ball and he was still probing for his opportunity. It was a measure of his greatness then, in the 64th minute of the Offaly senior football final against Tullamore, when he took that opportunity to strike for a stunning, game-saving goal with what was virtually the game's last kick.
Who else could have done it?
Rhode were down by three points at that stage and they looked for all the world a beaten docket until McNamee stepped up to do what he's been doing for years. But even by his standards, this was special because while the circumstances were magical and the scenes were breath-taking, none of that should take away from the brilliance of the goal itself.
Anton Sullivan kicked in a free that, at best, was a 50:50 delivery as two Tullamore players converged. McNamee, using all his nous, experience and class, was the one who won the ball on the hop though and having been aided by an over-zealous opposition tackler, he was sent wheeling back into space and back towards goal.
In front of goal, as any Gaelic football follower will know, McNamee is pure lethal and as soon as he swung that trusted left peg, the Tullamore faithful must have known they were in bother. They must have felt like dropping to their knees seconds later when McNamee's shot flew into the bottom corner leaving their goalkeeper with no chance.
Cometh the hour. Cometh the man.
Injury-time was up. Rhode were down by three and they looked finished...but Niall McNamee wasn't done yetpic.twitter.com/QVYk2FFNbE
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) November 1, 2021
It's back to the drawing board for both teams now but ahead of the replay, Tullamore will surely feel as if this is the one that got away with Rhode having played for 40 minutes without Alan McNamee, who was red carded in the first half.