BY CHRIS MCNULTY
TONY McNamee says he is ‘excited’ to have joined Finn Harps and can’t wait to get started in Ballybofey.
The 21-year-old Ramelton man has had a frustrating year having left Derry City in August in search of first-team football at Glenavon. However, his spell at Mourneview didn’t work out and he informed the club last week that he was pursuing a move to Harps for the 2015 campaign.
McNamee comes from a strong football background and is a nephew of Harps legend Con McLaughlin, who was the first Donegal man to score 100 goals in the League of Ireland.
Comfortable in several positions, McNamee says his favoured spot is playing just off the striker ‘in the hole’.
“It’s very exciting to have signed for Harps – Ollie (Horgan) has great plans for the new season so hopefully I can get into the team now and make an impact,” he told the Donegal News after being unveiled as a Harps player.
McNamee, the younger brother of Derry City star Barry, also progressed to the Candystripes’ first-team squad after impressing with the Derry side in the Ulster Senior League.
Indeed, McNamee was one of those to suffer a drop in the pecking order when Roddy Collins got sacked as City manager. The Dublin had been a big fan of
McNamee and had given him his first League start in May, as he played in the 1-0 home defeat by Shamrock Rovers.
McNamee said: “It’s all about opinions really. I felt I was doing ok and I couldn’t say a bad word about Roddy. The way he was playing probably suited me and when Peter (Hutton) came in he had a different idea. I didn’t get many games after Roddy left at all, but I enjoyed my time at Derry.
“I learned a lot and was involved for the FAI Cup final last year and the European games. It was great to be around the club for those games. The full-time training – we were in for two sessions a day most days and had the gym programmes – was brilliant and it really helped me as a player.
“But I want to be playing games regularly at as high a level as possible. Glenavon just didn’t really work out. The travel was difficult, but hopefully now I can get back on track at Harps again.”
McNamee played for Horgan with the Republic of Ireland Schools team and knows the Harps manager well.
He said: “I met Ollie a couple of times and I’m really looking forward to working with him.
“The First Division is a different League to anywhere I’ve played before so it’ll be a new challenge and I’ll have to get ready for that, but Ollie has good plans in place and hopefully we can make a go at it. You want to be up there battling for promotion and that’ll be the aim.”
McNamee feels he has a point to prove and can’t wait to get cracking at Finn Park.
He said: “It’s up to me to prove myself to Ollie and to the Harps supporters. Everyone knows that there’s great potential at Finn Harps so the club is working hard to get the fans back in through the gates here.
“I saw a couple of games last year and there is the bones of a good squad there. Ollie has made a good start with the players he has in already. I’m looking forward to working the likes of Kevin McHugh, who has been a great servant to Harps and is a brilliant player.
“It’s good to see Ciaran Gallagher back at the club too; he’s a great ‘keeper and if we can keep bringing in players like that hopefully we won’t be far away.”