Shaun Casey looks at the overall leaderboard in the McKenna Cup…
Tyrone – 17
THE Red Hands dominated the competition during Mickey Harte’s tenure in charge, winning 12 titles throughout his reign. Harte always held the same opinion, if you’re in a competition you might as well try and win it, and he carried that mentality throughout his career. Tyrone first won the McKenna Cup in 1957 and during the noughties they picked up four titles in a row between 2004-2007. They went on to win eight from nine between 2012-2020, missing out in the 2018 decider to Donegal. Tyrone last won the McKenna Cup in 2020, defeating rivals Armagh in the final.
Monaghan – 15
MONAGHAN are the current McKenna Cup holders having won the competition last season under Seamus McEnaney for the first time since 2003, beating Donegal in the final. The Farney men earned the first ever McKenna Cup triumph in 1927 and successfully defended their title the following year. In the ‘30s, Monaghan won the competition four times in six years between 1932-1937, missing out in 1933 and 1936 and also won two on the trot in 1979 and 1980. Since then, they’ve only won four titles in 1983, 1995, 2003 and 2022.
Cavan – 11
CAVAN dominated the provincial scene during the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s, winning a huge chunk of their 20 Ulster titles during those decades. They picked up their first McKenna Cup title 1936 but it was in the ‘50s where the Breffni Blues enjoyed their best period in the competition. They won four titles in six years, 1951, ’53, ’55 and ’56 and also earned the crown in ’62, ’68 and 1988. Cavan haven’t won the tournament since 2000 however when they defeated Tyrone in the final by six points, 1-18 to 2-9.
Derry – 11
DERRY haven’t won the McKenna Cup since 2011, the last time they reached the Ulster final before capturing the Anglo Celt trophy last summer. The Oak Leaf County, then led by John Brennan, saw off near neighbours Tyrone in the showpiece by the minimum of margins, 2-12 to 2-11, to collect their 11th title. Derry first won the competition in 1947 and picked up back-to-back titles in 1970 and 1971. Under Eamon Coleman, they also lifted the McKenna Cup in 1993, the same year they went on to claim the Sam Maguire for the first, and to date only, time in the county’s history.
Down – 11
IT’S been 15 years since Down had any success in the McKenna Cup, last lifting the trophy back in 2008. Back then, they ended a 20-year wait for a McKenna Cup title, having won it three times throughout the ‘90s, in 1992, ’96 and ’98. They first won the competition back in 1944 and again in 1959 along with winning it in 1961, the year after they carried Sam Maguire across the border for the very first time before repeating the feat again in ’61. Down also won McKenna Cup titles in ’64, ’72, ’87 and ’89.
Donegal – 11
DONEGAL ended Tyrone stranglehold on the McKenna Cup in 2018, denying the Red Hand County a historic seventh title in succession. Donegal are no strangers to retaining the title either, having done so twice in their history in 2001 and 2002 along with their 2009 and 2010 title defence. Donegal’s most successful period in the McKenna Cup came in the ‘60s when they won the competition three times, picking up their first in 1963 before adding to that initial success in ’65 and ’67. They also won the preseason competition in 1975, 1985 and 1991, one year before their maiden All-Ireland victory.
Armagh – 9
DURING Armagh’s most successful period in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, they won every trophy possible except the McKenna Cup. The Orchard County haven’t been successful in the competition since 1994 and last competed in the decider in 2020, losing out to arch-rivals Tyrone by two points. Armagh earned their first title in 1929 and picked up another two years later in 1931. Armagh were back-to-back winners twice, in ’38 and ’39 and in ’49 and ’50. In 1986 they ended a 36-year wait for a McKenna Cup before winning their eighth and ninth titles in 1990 and 1994.
Antrim – 6
SINCE Antrim last won the McKenna Cup, every other team in the province has got their hands on the trophy. Heading into the new season of 2023, it’s 42 years since the Saffron County won the preseason competition. They had great success in the 1940s, where they won four of their six titles, including two back-to-back triumphs. The first came in 1941 and 1942 before they repeated the feat in 1945 and 1946. Antrim had to wait a long 20-years before winning another in 1966 and finally picked up their sixth title in 1981.
Fermanagh – 4
NO team in Ulster has won fewer McKenna Cup titles than Fermanagh, who have only captured preseason gold on four occasions. The Erne County first tasted success in the McKenna Cup back in 1930 and backed that up three years later with a second crown. They endured a 40-year wait before winning the competition for a third time in 1977 and 20- years later they earned their fourth, and most recent, title in 1997.