St Patrick’s, Armagh aiming to advance in MacRory Cup

February 08, 2017

St Patrick’s, Armagh aiming to advance in MacRory Cup but St Colman’s, Newry in form

Danske Bank MacRory Cup quarter-final: Wednesday, 7.30pm in Dub, QUB

St Patrick’s, Armagh v St Colman’s, Newry

The play-offs in the Danske Bank MacRory Cup a fortnight ago provided plenty of drama and talking points, but a team that came through with a minimum of fuss was St Colman’s, Newry under the Páirc Esler floodlights ahead of the Dr McKenna Cup final.

Cathal Murray’s charges were put under pressure by 2015 champions St Patrick’s, Cavan for most of the game, but they finished strongly with Rian O’Neill and Jack McCartan central to the unanswered 1-3 in the last 10 minutes that gave them a 2-12 to 1-10 victory.

O’Neill pointed for the lead and then played in substitute McCartan for the decisive second goal.

McCartan added a late point after Eoghan Byrne’s shot came back off the cross-bar and, such was his impact, that it will be difficult to keep him on the bench.

It was a decent performance from the “College”, with Conor O’Neill turning in a good hour at midfield and plenty of movement up front.

They were at home and responded well to the encouragement from the stand, building up some good moves with their hallmark quick football out of defence.

While the object was to get through, one feels that their game will need to improve if they are to make further progress in the competition.

If you were to heed the media, it would seem that Mattie McGleenan’s sole pre-occupation at the moment is to move Cavan football forward having taken over in the autumn after a successive spell with Scotstown.

However also in November Mattie guided St Patrick’s, Armagh, including his son Matthew óg, through to an automatic quarter-final place in the MacRory Cup.

The focus on the quarter-final play-offs in late January seems to have left Armagh coming into this game a little under the radar and adding to that sense is the reality that they are the last remaining team from their league group, with Maghera, Enniskillen and St Mary’s CBGS, Belfast all knocked out a fortnight ago.

Armagh blew hot and cold in the group and they were comfortably beaten in the MacCormack Cup semi-final by eventual champions and county rivals St Ronan’s, Lurgan.

They do have some good footballers; Cathair McGeary and Callan Duffin (Armagh) and Mathhew óg (Tyrone) were county minors last season, while Ronan Moore and James Rice have impressed during the league games.

As a team though St Patrick’s are still an unknown quality.

Of course they are a threat to St Colman’s ambitions, but with a tough game under their belts in Páirc Esler, the Newry school looks to be building for a good run in the competition.

Thomas Hawkins Published in the Irish News 8th February 2017