History of the McNamara Cup

The McNamara Cup has been the premier rugby trophy in Counties Manukau and is fought over and presented annually for over for 65 years.

The history of the Cup goes back to 1955 when City Ramblers from Waiuku won the very first edition of the Counties Manukau club competition and the McNamara Cup was presented for the first time.

“TP (Thomas Patrick) McNamara was my great grandfather – my grandma Phyllis McNaughten was a McNamara,” ex-Pukekohe player Brad McNaughten told Counties Sports Hub.

“TP was born 1885 and was one of 14 children. The family grew up in the McNamara Homestead at Whiriwhiri near Otaua just outside Waiuku, where the homestead still remains to this day.

“TP had six other brothers that played rugby locally and TP was a player, coach and then administrator for both the Otaua and Waiuku clubs.

“He donated a sum of money which allowed the first grandstand to be built at Rugby Park in Waiuku.

“TP passed away in 1954 at age 69 and his wife Alberta donated the original cup in 1955 to the newly formed South Auckland Counties Union and it’s been like that ever since.

“It was pretty neat for the family when Kent [Brad’s brother] and I won it with Puke in 1999 as players, and I was lucky enough to be involved in 2004 and 2005 helping out coaching when Puke won it back-to-back.”

After City Ramblers’ inaugural win, Papakura claimed the next three Cups but in 1959 Onewhero United won their first and only title to date.

Manurewa dominated the 1960s – winning nine of 11 years from 1961-72 and five more in a row in the late 1970s.

Ardmore claimed three titles from 1979-83 including one of the more famous finals that saw a draw in the 1983 decider with Pukekohe and a weekday replay was needed to crown Ardmore as eventual champions.

Bombay picked up the first of three championships in five years in 1985 before Manurewa’s famous dynasty of the 1990s saw them earn six straight titles and eight in nine years that decade.

Ardmore Marist won the first of their five McNamara Cups in 2001 while Patumahoe claimed the first of their three wins in 2006.

Bombay have been the most recent club to enjoy an extended period of success – claiming four consecutive titles from 2014 and five in six seasons.

Last year was the first time in the history of the McNamara Cup that a winner wasn’t crowned thanks to the COVID-19 interruption.

Ardmore Marist would love to add to their list of wins this weekend while Karaka will be aiming for a break-through win after many heart-breaking losses in finals over the years.

McNamara Cup List of Winners

1955       City Ramblers (1st)
1956       Papakura (1st)
1957      Papakura (2nd)
1958       Papakura (3rd) & Waiuku (1st)
1959       Onewhero United (1st)
1960       Ardmore (1st) & Pukekohe (1st)
1961       Manurewa (1st)
1962       Manurewa (2nd)
1963       Manurewa (3rd)
1964       Pukekohe (2nd)
1965       Manurewa (4th)
1966       Manurewa (5th)
1967       Manurewa (6th)
1968       Papakura (4th)
1969       Manurewa (7th)
1970       Manurewa (8th)
1971       Manurewa (9th)
1972       Papakura (5th) 
1973       Papakura (6th) 
1974       Papakura (7th) & Manurewa (10th)
1975       Manurewa (11th)
1976       Manurewa (12th)
1977       Manurewa (13th)
1978       Manurewa (14th)
1979       Ardmore (2nd)
1980       Manurewa (15th)
1981       Ardmore (3rd)
1982       Manurewa (16th)
1983       Ardmore (4th)
1984       Manurewa (17th)
1985       Bombay (1st)
1986       Manurewa (18th)
1987       Bombay (2nd)
1988       Manurewa (19th)
1989       Bombay (3rd)
1990       Manurewa (20th)
1991       Manurewa (21st)
1992       Manurewa (22nd)
1993       Manurewa (23rd)
1994       Manurewa (24th)
1995       Manurewa (25th)
1996       Papakura (8th)
1997       Manurewa (26th)
1998       Manurewa (27th)
1999       Pukekohe (3rd)
2000       Waiuku (2nd)
2001       Ardmore Marist (1st)
2002       Ardmore Marist (2nd)
2003       Waiuku (3rd)
2004       Pukekohe (4th)
2005       Pukekohe (5th)
2006       Patumahoe (1st)
2007       Pukekohe (6th)
2008       Ardmore Marist (3rd)
2009       Patumahoe (2nd)
2010       Waiuku (4th)
2011       Pukekohe (7th)
2012       Patumahoe (3rd)
2013       Ardmore Marist (4th)
2014       Bombay (4th)
2015       Bombay (5th)
2016       Bombay (6th)
2017       Bombay (7th)
2018       Ardmore Marist (5th)
2019       Bombay (8th)
2020       No winner (COVID-19)
2021       ?