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Holy Trinity holding their own at MacRory level

By Niall Gartland

MACRORY Cup football is still relatively new to Holy Trinity, Cookstown, but it would be entirely inaccurate to suggest they don’t have a history of success.

Present PE Teacher Kieran McGeary, who had a magnificent season with Tyrone this year, played on the team which won the All-Ireland Vocationals final at u-16 level back in 2010, while fellow All-Ireland winners Michael Cassidy, Frank Burns and Hugh Pat McGeary also came through the school.

In more recent times, they won the MacLarnon Cup trophy in 20172018 (the Ulster Schools’ ‘B’ competition), prompting a move to fielding in the prestigious MacRory Cup competition.

They’ve done well so far in this year’s campaign and are looking forward to next week’s quarter-final clash against Abbey CBS.

John McKeever, who jointly manages the team with Peter Canavan, says that reaching the semi-finals would represent palpable progress for the school – but Abbey CBS could have something to say about that, obviously.

McKeever commented: “We were playing Vocationals football and then made the step up to Ulster Schools about six years ago.

“It took us about three years to win the MacLarnon Cup and as soon as we did so, we took our opportunity to move up to MacRory level.

“We’re competing well. This is our third year fielding in the competition and every year we’ve gone a step further.

“The last time we were beaten by St Pat’s, Maghera in the quarter-finals so it’d be good to do a bit better this time around.”

There’s a lot of well-established GAA men teaching in Holy Trinity, including Galbally’s Aidan O’Hagan, Armagh’s Stefan Forker and former Antrim footballer Kevin O’Boyle.

Exactly because of that, they have a policy whereby the management of the MacRory panel switches hands every couple of years.

“Myself, Peter Canavan and Kieran McGeary are the PE Teachers in the School, but we have a lot of GAA men that are very keen to take teams. We thought that the fairest way would be if myself and Peter took the MacRory Cup team for a couple of years, and then we go back down to Year EightYear Nine level and work our way back up again.

“That way everyone gets rewarded for their hard work and we all get a chance to take a MacRory Cup team. That’s the reason we have this system, it wouldn’t be fair if it was always myself and Peter – a rotational system is the fairest way to do it.”

The Cookstown school have definitely impressed en route to the quarter-finals. On the opening day they defeated St Macartan’s, Monaghan, with Shea Quinn earning the plaudits with an impressive hat-trick. While they did lose once in the group stages, to neighbours St Patrick’s, Dungannon, they still qualified for the last eight thanks to victory over St Eunan’s on their second day out.

Victory over Abbey CBS would be a major stepping stone for the college as it would be their first MacRory Cup victory in the knock-outs, and other players to watch out for include Ardboe pairing Jack Martin and Conan Devlin, as well as Peter Loughran.

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