Portlaoise native Malachy McNulty has been handed a huge boost as he prepares his Rhode side for their Offaly senior football final replay on Sunday.
The former Portlaoise player and manager is aiming to lead Rhode to back to back senior football titles and his hand has been boosted by the news that midfielder Alan McNamee has been cleared to play after his red card picked up in the final two weeks ago has been rescinded.
McNulty will be hoping for double success on Sunday as his club Portlaoise are also in the Laois senior football final against Portarlington.
The influential Rhode midfielder was red carded by referee Marius Stones 23 minutes into the drawn final with Tullamore last Sunday week.
He appealed his sending off to the Offaly GAA Hearings Committee on Monday night and was successful. Rhode GAA Club produced video of evidence of the sending off and successfully argued that it was not dangerous play.
He had seen red after a heavy challenge on Tullamore's Diarmuid Egan and it stacked the odds against Rhode in a game where they did very well to survive. Alan's younger brother Niall struck a brilliant equalising goal at the end of injury time to give Rhode a 1-8 each draw.
There will be plenty of debate in the build up to the replay over whether the Hearings Committee have made the right call, especially in Tullamore but it is a huge boost to Rhode's prospects.
A powerful, tough, excellent midfielder, Alan McNamee has won twelve Offaly senior football medals and is chasing his 13th on Sunday. He was there when Rhode bridged a long 23 year gap when winning the Dowling Cup in 1998 and has been a key performer in every success since then as Rhode embarked on a phenomenally productive era.
Sunday's replay takes place at 2.00pm in Tullamore.
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