Togher Talk – Turlough McNamara

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turlough mcnamaraLIMERICK and sporting success have gone hand in hand during the month of July, with the standout triumph being that of the senior hurlers in winning the Munster championship, but the county is winning awards both on and off the field of play.

Turlough McNamara of Geraldines FC was named as the country’s best public relations officer (PRO) by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) at the Kantar Media Communications Awards in Wicklow last week. He was naturally delighted to receive the award, one which he said belonged to the people and community around him.

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“It was great to get the award, but this is an award for my family, who have helped me out so much. It’s an award for Geraldines and it’s an award for Limerick. It was a big thrill to be acknowledged by the FAI and all my family is thrilled.”

It seems that it wasn’t just Turlough’s family who felt thrilled – an announcement of the news on Facebook generated massive reaction from the Limerick junior soccer fraternity. One post on a Limerick junior soccer page received more than 130 ‘likes’, with as many as  30 people openly offering their congratulations, and Turlough was overwhelmed by the praise.

“The Facebook hits were unbelievable. I had been keeping it quiet before it was announced on radio last Thursday. Then when I came back from Arklow I was getting great praise and I was so surprised with all the good wishes.”

He discovered in the week prior to the awards, which were presented at the FAI’s AGM on Friday July 19, that he would be honoured. Turlough was first to receive his award on the evening, with honours also given out to national and regional media, club websites and photographers. The award caps a three-decade spell as PRO with Geraldines, with whom he has been associated from an early age.

“I’ve been PRO of Geraldines for 30 years and I was told that I was the longest-serving club PRO in the country. I was never the best footballer so I joined the committee as PRO and there hasn’t been a week where I haven’t been involved. I enjoy going out on Sundays and doing up match reports. I’ve met many great friends in the press over the years.”

Perhaps the simplest, and yet the most praiseworthy, summary of the scale of Turlough’s achievement came from a colleague of his at the awards ceremony in Arklow – “Somebody said to me that this is my cap for Ireland.”