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Veteran Tom (81) still helping to keep Cross on road to success

By John Campbell

Not too many people decide to become an office-holder in their club for the first time at the age of 60. And fewer still would be prepared to work diligently in their post until they reached the age of 81.

But then Tom McKay is not your ordinary clubman. The Down native took up the reins as Crossmaglen Rangers PRO in 1996 "on a temporary basis", as he puts it, but remained in his post until a few days ago when he reluctantly decided to step down.

There is no chance of Tom riding off into the sunset, though. He will continue to serve on the Rangers' committee and will be the club's Armagh county board delegate.

"I consider myself one of the most fortunate club officers in the country," reflected Tom. "I had only just been voted in as PRO when Crossmaglen Rangers began a period of success that many feel will never be matched by any other club. I feel proud and privileged to have been part of it."

Still as sprightly as ever, the affable Tom has been unstinting in his efforts to ensure that Cross maintained their place in the spotlight.

"It has not been all glamour," he smiled. "Only twice when the All-Ireland Club trophy was captured and brought home to our premises was I able to participate fully in the welcome. On the other occasions I was busy doing many of the hundred and one things that always need doing behind the scenes."

He has watched many Rangers players develop and go on to greater things - people like Oisin McConville, the McEntee twins John and Tony, Aaron Kernan, Jim McConville, Francie Bellew and Paul Hearty.

"We have been fortunate, too, in that we have had outstanding managers and it has been a pleasure for me to work with them. I am leaving with a treasure trove of memories and I take comfort from the fact that we have won the last couple of minor titles so it looks as if the future will be bright," pointed out Tom.

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