Omagh CBS preparing for shot at Hogan Cup glory

By Shaun Casey

SOME say three’s a crowd, but the Omagh CBS management team of Diarmaid McNulty, Ciaran McBride and Pat McNabb have found the perfect balance. The trio guided their school to the MacRory Cup title in February and are preparing for a shot at the Hogan Cup this weekend.

“It does work well,” said McNabb on the three-team management ticket. “Sometimes you go into management teams and the dynamics mightn’t be right, but we’ve got on very well and have come across a good bunch of boys who are willing to work hard, willing to learn and have been a pleasure to coach. We feel we’re getting the best out of them and that doesn’t always help.”

“The MacRory Cup is another cup and it’s always great to win anything, but it’s the flagship competition in Ulster football and obviously there’s a lot of prestige with it. When you’re asked to manage a MacRory team you do get excited about it, and now we’ve won it we’re into uncharted territory from my own point of view, Diarmaid McNulty has been there before as player obviously.”

It’s been a hectic season for McNabb and his team, but does success on the field hinder the work that can be done in the classroom? McNabb hopes not and believes the experience inside the changing room has been a big asset this year.

“Without doubt, maybe the studies have taken a backseat for a few weeks, and you can’t blame them they’re excited and there’s probably a nervousness as well. But as you say it’s our jobs as managers to keep everyone level-headed and we’re doing well at that.

“Diarmaid has been here before and Mr McBride has played with Tyrone at that level as well, so we’ve experience in the squad and management team. Some of the boys played in Croke Park two years ago as part of the Tyrone minor team that reached the All-Ireland final, so there’s a lot of we things we can call upon. You don’t always know how young lads will perform on the big day but we’re hopeful we’ll be okay.”

“It’s not only results but the performances that have been excellent. You can have all the plannings in the world but if you don’t have the players to implement it, it doesn’t matter. I’d give more credit to the players, to the way they go about their business, their commitment to the competition has been excellent.”

McNabb is expecting a tight tussle when his side face Sligo College Summerhill on Friday evening. “Summerhill have played six games to get to this stage, they’ve won no game by more than two points, they’ve drawn a couple,” added McNabb.

“They came down in one game from nine points down, they’re a battle-hardened resilient outfit and they’re also riding a crest of a wave following an upsurge in Sligo fortunes, a lot of them were part of the minor team two years ago that won their first Connacht in more than 50 years and a couple were involved when they won the U-20s last year.”

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