Patrick Hound McNamara

The Hound Mack


There is always the temptation   in this type of article to say nice things. But in total honesty, we can say the ‘Hound’ was good – indeed he was great. Patrick “The Hound” McNamara is one of the greats of Newmarket hurling.  As a wing-forward,   he will always be ranked with such legendary exponents of wing-forward play as Jim Guerin and Pat Cronin.


He must be considered great because of his style of play. Patrick played his hurling in the late 20s and right through the 1930s and this was the era of robust tackling and full-blooded man-to-man, shoulder-to-shoulder play. But the Hound stood apart from this game. With his speed of foot, outstanding anticipation, skillful ball control and speed of delivery, he was able to avoid the man-to-man play. It was rarely if ever he clashed with his opponent – his aim being to be ahead of his opponent. His speed of foot -which obviously led to the name ‘Hound’ – is legendary.  Indeed, John Joe Doyle, even though he was himself very fast informs us that because the Hound was so fast, he was always the one man he was reluctant to mark in training. Now let us look at the career and achievements of this man.



Patrick was born in 1907 and like all youngsters   he hurled at every opportunity.  A great deal of his hurling as a youngster and a teenager was done in The Green with the other young lads of the village John Joe Doyle, Pakie Lillis, Tim McNamara, Jimmy Flanagan and so on.  Patrick informs us that they had great matches there. But what is fascinating about these hurlng matches is that the youngsters of Newmarket had neither hurleys nor a hurling ball. A tin can was used as a substitute for a ball. For hurleys, ‘crooks’ were used – that is an ash plant, turned at the end and pared down with a hatchet. Patrick can still to this day recall his. first hurley.  He got it from Georgie O’Dea (goalkeeper for Newmarket 1916 – 1935) – a hurley that was too small for Georgie. He distinctly remembers   this as his first hurley, though he cannot recall the exact year but reckons he would have been at least 17 or 18 years of age when he got his first proper hurley.



There were, of course, no juvenile or minor championships for Patrick. He played junior for Newmarket from 1926 to 1929 and came on the senior team in 1930. He made an immediate impact. Two teams dominated Clare Hurling at this time, Ennis Dalcassians and Newmarket and the battles between them were always outstanding.  They met in the 1930 Cup Final – a game played in Newmarket in Kelly-Halpin’s field with the Blues triumphant by 4-7 to 2-4. This was Patrick’s first major senior game for Newmarket

and he was opposed by Ennis man Larry Blake. Blake, a small man with immense skill, is one of the great Clare wing backs of all time. But the general consensus in Newmarket is that the Hound came of age as a hurler in this Cup Final by outwitting Blake. Newmarket  made  it a double  against the  Dais later in the year  when they  defeated  them  in the  County  Final. Newmarket now had a wonderful team and the same double was achieved again in 1931 with two more victories over The Dais. The Hound played in all these games.  We will give the full line-out of ‘31 team:  Georgie O’Dea, Edgy McMahon, Micko Purcell, J.J. Doyle (Captain), Jack Moroney, A. Fawl, Bocky Connery, ‘Mower’ McMahon, Monty Murphy, Patrick   McNamara, Mick Malone,  Mick O’Rourke, Jimmy Flanagan, Tom Arthur, Paddy Malone.



1932 was a traumatic year for the Hound as, of course, it was for Clare hurling. Clare won the Munster Championship, defeated Galway in the All-Ireland semifinal in sensational fashion and were defeated by Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final by a goal. But the burning question in Newmarket even to this day is should the Hound have been playing in that All-Ireland? It was the unanimous view in Newmarket at the time that he should have been. Reports from the training camp in Mountshannon suggested that he was ‘flying it’. Patrick believes himself that he should have been on the team. This question cannot be resolved now. But let Patrick describe his feelings during the All-Ireland final and they give a very clear indication as to his readiness and eagerness for the match.               _

“I was over on the sideline in Croke Park … down on my knees with Tony Nealon and Tom O’Rourke.  Jasus, I will never forget it… down on my knees.  I reminded myself of a young horse that

would be mad for road …  eating the bit … I cut the field in front of me with the pole of my hurley.  I couldn’t stop it … the whole time the ball was passing out in front of me… a white ball … I loved a white ball. I reddened   the whole field around me… and God we got bet. I was never as mad for hurling as that day. I got disheartened completely with hurling ...  it took me two years to go back again”.  However, he took up the game at the start of the 1935 season.



The Blues won the Cup in 1935 and in 1936 – the Cup Championship double was achieved for the third time in seven years. But 1936 was the beginning of the end of a great era of Newmarket hurling and even though Patrick played senior until 1942, there were no more major honours for him.

But there is one further game worth recalling – a semi-final game in the 1939 Cup Competition against Feakle. Mick O’Rourke, interviewed   a number of years ago referred   to this game and stated that the Hound gave a most extraordinary performance from, would you believe, full-back. He totally dominated the game and actually went up the field and scored a goal. Why did he play full-back? Because   he  was  ill and  felt  he  would  not  have  the energy  for an outfield position!! Actually, he informs us that he did not want to go to the game but Micko “Gunner” persuaded   him on the morning of the game to go. The Hound attributes his performance to the fact that he travelled to the game on the back of a lorry and he states ‘it shook the guts out of me!’



Patrick’s final game of hurling was for Newmarket juniors in the 1943 Championship Final against Tradaree. We conclude with a few random recollections from Patrick. He tells us that he enjoyed his hurling immensely.  He never bothered to collect his medals stating that. he played purely for enjoyment.  He rates John Joe Doyle as the outstanding Newmarket hurler of his time. He considers Tull Considine to have been an outstandingly skillful mid-field player for Ennis and Clare, and states that Tull’s duels with our own Bocky Connery were of epic proportions.  He is also proud of the hurling achievements of his nephew, Paddy. We congratulate The Hound on his hurling and wish him many years of good health.


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