By Barry O’Donnell
OMAGH CBS manager Diarmaid McNulty felt his side showed they have it in their arsenal to grind out a victory if need be in the previous round of the MacRory Cup.
The Brothers face Patrician High School, Carrickmacross in the last four this Saturday afternoon in Duffy Park, Monaghan (in 2pm) aiming to maintain their 100 per cent winning record in the competition to date.
Even though Patrician toppled the holders Magherafelt after-extra time in the previous round, the Brothers will still be favourites to progress to an all-Tyrone showdown in mid-February against either St Patrick’s, Dungannon or Holy Trinity, Cookstown.
Omagh had things all their own way during the group stages of the MacRory Cup prior to Christmas but they faced a stern test of their resolve and character in the recent quarter-final played on a mucky old night at Healy Park against a physically imposing St Colman’s, Newry.
Trailing 0-9 to 0-7 as the match ticked into the 50th minute, Omagh dug deep to land the last four points of the contest, the lively Ruairi McCullagh knocking over a quality brace among them, to stave off the formidable challenge of their Down visitors.
McNulty wasn’t surprised at how the contest played out, adding that both sides were all too familiar with each other’s style of play.
“We were just glad to get through it. We played St Colman’s in a friendly in October time. We were really trying to implement a system at that point so they would have got a good look at us. In those wet conditions it was going to be difficult.
“Handling was poor and there was nerves too which was understandable. Boys are just 16, 17 years of age. They are only cubs and in the infancy of their careers. We were just glad to get over the line.
“Quarter-finals are there to be won, that is all it is. It gets you to the next round and that is all we asked.”
The CBS had played some expansive, flowing football in reaching the knockout stages of the competition but they showed that there was more than one way to skin a cat in eventually seeing-off St Colman’s. McNulty admitted that the night wasn’t conducive to attacking play.
“We have sharp, jinky forwards. When it’s heavy ground it is hard to get away sometimes from bigger stronger men. We were happy enough with the match-ups we got. I thought Eoin Donaghy did rightly in the middle of the field, their star man Aaron O’Neill is a really good forward and Barry McMenamin did his best on him. That’s all we can ask for.”
One forward who did stand out on the night was McCullagh who hit four points and McNulty applauded his ability to find the target off either left or right peg.
“Ruairi McCullagh, we call him Shane Walsh. He can kick with his right or his left. Loughmacrory are producing some really good young players and he is another one to add to the list.”