JT McNamara Tribute

Peter Flood, trainer of Ourmanmassini with Matt Fehenny and Ted Behan, of Cois Sionna Credit Union, race sponsors.
Den O’Brien Ballysteen Point to Point

With all the many great tributes and kind words that have been spoken about the man, it’s hard to add anything that hasn’t been said.
John Thomas McNamara was a man who was amateur only in name, and nobody got to see this more than the people who had the privilege of being here to watch a man of such great talent at work in Ballysteen over 16 years.
His long, illustrious connection with the Ballysteen Point to Point began on the first meeting here in 1996 when he partnered horses like Aghawadda Gold and TheFireStone to the only 4-timer to ever have been ridden at the track. This set the trend for many more successes to follow for JT here in Ballysteen. Doubles followed in ‘98 and ‘06, with a treble in 2007, including riding the local Eric McNamara-trained horses, Emergency Exit and Reens Pike, to victory.
Perhaps the happiest day JT encountered in Ballysteen, however, came in 2006 when, by partnering Danny O’Connell’s Clockers Corner to his 414th Point to Point winner, he surpassed Enda Bolger’s long-standing record. This is a memory that was cherished by many people who were present on the day.
2012 – the last time we were to see the gifted horseman riding before us – was to end with another double, including the Micheal Hourigan-trained “Pa Murphy”. Little did we know at that time how precious these memories would become.
They do say there is a kink in the good ones, and JT was no exception to this; there were some not so good days here for him in Ballysteen too. These days, he would let you know about it just as much, if not more, than the good ones. Heading out the gate after not having a winner or having a fall or two, stewards would often duck for cover for fear of getting in his way. On one occasion he had to show some great horsemanship when his horse never took the top bend and ended up jumping the wall into the neighbouring farm. Of course this wasn’t a major problem for JT; he just popped the horse back out over the wall again and headed for home. Needless to say, there was some choice words when he reached the weigh in and he promised that he wouldn’t be returning the following year. Roll on 12 hours and when the first lorry load of horses come to be schooled the next morning, JT was the first man here to give them a pop around, and all was good in the world again.
But that’s the type of man he was, a man that was as honest as the day is long. He could never be accused of mincing his words and you knew where you stood with him, be it good, bad or indifferent. He inspired many, both old and young and showed what it took to succeed at the top. We were all very lucky to come in contact with the man and, if there were more people like him in the world, it would be a lot better place.
As you no doubt look down upon us here today, we salute you. Rest in peace, pal. John Thomas McNamara – The Legend.
Danny Neville