Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

Much rests on Tuesday’s MacRory Cup double-header at Garvaghey

November 22nd, 2016

Danske Bank MacRory Cup: Omagh CBS v St Mary’s, Magherafelt (Tuesday, Augher, 2pm); St Patrick’s, Maghera v St Michael’s, Enniskillen; St Mary’s CBS v St Patrick’s, Armagh (Tuesday, Garvaghey, 2.45pm)

THERE is a lot at stake in the last three games in the league stages of the Danske Bank MacRory Cup on Tuesday.

The double-header at 2.45pm in Garvaghey has been so fixed because the results of the two games will impact on each other. Simply put, all four teams have a win each after two rounds of games. The top team in the group after today’s games will have a semi-final in the MacCormack Cup ahead of them at the end of the week and the placings of the others in the group will line up quarter-final play-offs in the MacRory Cup after the Christmas break.

Last week, I confidently predicted wins for St Patrick’s, Maghera and St Michael’s, Enniskillen to make Tuesday’s game the top-place decider. Armagh and St Mary’s CBGS turned my predictions on their head, however, with the former’s six-point victory over Maghera the more decisive of the two results. It makes one wonder how that same Armagh side fell by 10 points to Enniskillen in their opening game at the start of the month.

St Mary’s played with conviction in both their games and were level with Maghera until Paddy Quigg fired home a goal a few minutes from the time, the last score of the game. Against Enniskillen, they held on for the win, albeit with a little drama thrown in. Maghera will point to the fact that Quigg did not play against Armagh, but then again they had full use of their Dungiven contingent last week for that second game.

And then what of Enniskillen? They showed well against Armagh, scoring 4-14, but racked up a lot of wides in MUSA last Tuesday against St Mary’s. Of the four management teams, St Mary’s will probably be the happier as they have seen the most consistency from their charges over the two hours of football.

Each of the other three will search for that elusive ingredient during today’s games. It’s much too difficult to predict winners given how last week went. I suggest that whoever finishes above fourth place in the group should be content enough.

The earlier game on Tuesday should have been decided last Friday, but the snowy weather intervened. Both Omagh CBS and St Mary’s Magherafelt are undefeated, so top of Group A and an assured MacCormack Cup semi-final is the prize for the winner.

If St Mary’s lose or draw, Abbey CBS will take the remaining MacCormack Cup semi-final place. If they win, the remaining semi-final berth will be decided between Omagh and Abbey on scoring averages.

Magherafelt have a win and two draws to their credit at this stage – but both draws came from situations where they should have closed the games out for victories. Omagh have been in great form in each of their games – but the last of those was on October 28.

Provided they still have the momentum, the Tyrone school is tipped to win again on Tuesday.

Séamas McAleenan  Published in The Irish News

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