Fanad United ace is latest Watson Menswear Player of the Month   22/12/2017

Tony McNamee says Fanad United can mount a challenge to the Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League throne.

Cockhill Celtic have been champions for the last five seasons but, as the League takes its Christmas hiatus, there are only three points separating the top four teams.

McNamee has been instrumental in Fanad’s revival in fortunes and that, coupled with his displays for the USL at the recent FAI Intermediate Interprovincial Tournament in Galway, saw him presented with the Watson Menswear Ulster Senior League Player of the Month award.

Picture: Tony McNamee receives the Watson Menswear Ulster Senior League Player of the Month award from Leonard Watson. Also included is USL Registrar Jason Gibson.

McNamee made the move to Fanad from Swilly Rovers in the summer and, with his Gaelic football commitments with Milford now completed, the Ramelton man is able to give his full concentration to Fanad.

“The thing is that we have plenty of belief,” McNamee says.

“With the performance, a lot of boys have made things hard for Arthur (Lynch) now.

“Arthur came in two years ago and started off with a young enough squad. He brought the likes of Shaun McElwaine back in and that was key.

“We do have a very good squad of players. The Youth team is flying too and some of the young players are pushing for a place in the squad. We have plenty of options. We have plenty going forward and we’re solid at the back.”

A recent 2-0 win over Cockhill handed the Inishowen side only their second League defeat since 2012.

McNamee scored one of the goals in that win at Traigh-A-Loch and, incidentally, also scored when Swilly overcame Gavin Cullen’s men.

McNamee says: “The result against Cockhill will have raised eyebrows, but we are confident of taking on any team. No-one will take us lightly and no-one will be able to say they got a handy three points against us.

“That was only Cockhill’s second loss in five years. Cockhill have had a great knack of getting results. They’ve set the bar for the rest of the sides. Letterkenny came very close last season and anything could happen in a tight title race. We’re hoping we can stay in contention.

“We’ve started to pick up more points since we’ve got full sides out.  We were still missing a few against Cockhill.”

The former Finn Harps man - who is, he says, playing ‘lot better now than I ever was’ - is hopeful that Fanad can stay in the title race.

It was perhaps the most impressive statistic from that game that Fanad won without the services of Matthew Crossan, Caolan Kelly, Daire McDaid and Martin McElhinney.

McNamee says: “Not many teams fancy coming to Traigh-A-Loch, no matter who it is. It’s a tricky place to play. I never wanted to play an away game in Fanad.

“Fanad have always been a top team, regardless of when it was. You always know you’ll get a tough game against Fanad. They’ve won 14 titles and they’ve always been a strong side.”