McNulty hoping for another fairytale year

By Niall Gartland

SUCCESSFULLY defending their MacRory Cup crown would be something really special indeed Omagh CBS, and manager Diarmaid McNulty says he has enjoyed the sizeable challenge of holding onto their title.

The Brothers claimed Hogan Cup honours on St Patrick’s Day of last year with a spell-binding performance at Croke Park against Summerhill College, Sligo.

McNulty himself tasted MacRory and Hogan Cup success as a player back in 2007 so there was a sense things had come full circle for the Gortin man, and now he’s on the cusp of leading the school to their first ever MacRory Cup double.

McNulty said: “Last year was a fairytale year and there’s a couple of really precious photos sitting proudly in the house.

“This year I’ve really enjoyed the hard work and the idea of being the team that everyone is trying to take the trophy of.

“We’ve had a lot of obstacles, the club season went on for so long, so we’ve actually had to carry a bigger panel, and coaching those extra boys to bring them up to MacRory standard has been really enjoyable. It’s been a really good group to work with and I just hope they deliver the goods on Sunday.”

While Sunday’s MacRory final against St Patrick’s Academy is his most pressing priority, McNulty, who is presently involved with the Tyrone u-20 set-up, also has one eye on the future.

“We’re on five MacRory the moment, I suppose we had a good run since the turn of the century, we’ve been in a good few finals and there’s quality players coming through the school and it’s just about creating an ethos and a standard that you’d expect.

“The clubs are really feeding into that with the players they’re producing and we’re just trying to bring them to the next level.

“They’ll always go back I feel as better club players which is very, very important to me but some of them will also go on and represent Tyrone which is fantastic.

“We’ve already had one that’s made his county senior debut after playing last year in Conor Owens. That was a real proud moment and I just hope a wee percentage of our coaching has helped develop them realise their own potential.”

The CBS can call upon six starting members of last year’s team, while there are a number of other panelists from the 2023 team who have made the leap up to the starting 15. In that sense, just being involved was a really invaluable experience.

“If you take simple things like the warm-ups I like to do some of the wee games that we play, they already had an understanding of how we want to play per se, so they were ready for it.”

“We lost Mr (Pat) McNabb, he’s helping out another school team, so it’s just me and Mr (Ciaran) McBride so there’s been plenty of coaching from the two of us and working as a pair. You miss that third teacher, but it’s been a really enjoyable year.”

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