Danske Bank MacRory knock-out draws
Danske Bank MacRory Cup holders St Mary’s Magherafelt have lined up either Omagh CBS or St Macartan’s Monaghan in this season’s quarter-finals after the draw was made in Riddell House Belfast yesterday at a reception hosted by sponsors Danske Bank.
The four play-off fixtures for the end of January were already known in advance and yesterday’s draw was all about working in the four league group winners from November’s Danske Bank MacCormack Cup.
Last year’s winning manager Kevin Brady was adopting a fairly low-key approach after noting the line-ups.
“Obviously it was great for us to top our group last month and reach the quarter-finals automatically. That gives us now an opportunity to look at the play-off game and size up our opponents. But we came through the play-off route last year, just about survived against St Michael’s Enniskillen and then caught Omagh cold in the quarter-finals.”
“I suppose the situation is really reversed for this season –that is if Omagh make it past St Macartan’s!” added the former Antrim forward.
St Mary’s comfortably beat St Macartan’s in an early league match, but the Monaghan town side took out St Patrick’s Academy in a knock-out game at the start of December in Emyvale.
“Knock-out football is different than the league where you can try players out. In knock-out you have to get it exactly right from the off.
“No-one could have been impressed by our play-off against Enniskillen last year, but we gained momentum from it, steadily improved with each game and won a first title. I think three of the four automatic qualifiers last year fell against a play-off winner, so it’s hard to beat seeing your team winning.”
Elsewhere there were quite a few coaches hoping to avoid playing a, so far, rampant St Patrick’s Maghera side who are most people’s favourites for the title.
Recent outright winners St Michael’s Enniskillen or St Patrick’s Cavan have drawn the short straw, but after one of them emerges from a play-off they could well be relishing the challenge.
Cavan were well-beaten by Maghera in a league tie in November, but have since backed up the Rannafast title three weeks ago with a surprise 20 points’ victory over Maghera in Saturday’s Corn na nÓg final, while Enniskillen’s sixth and last title in 2012 came right out of the blue.
The other unbeaten team is St Ronan’s Lurgan who play Maghera in Thursday’s Danske Bank MacCormack Cup final. They have been paired with the winners from Patrician High Carrickmacross v St Ciaran’s Ballygawley.
And that means that there will be a derby quarter-final in the last pairing with the winners from St Colman’s Newry v St Patrick’s Armagh taking on St Paul’s Bessbrook.
Meanwhile the Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup draw has thrown up some interesting ties for the start of February.
Our Lady’s & St Patrick’s Knock who came through a play-off with Virginia College from Cavan a couple of weeks ago will face Group B winners St Louis Ballymena while another play-off winner Scoileanna Inis Eoghain will take on 2015 champions Our Lady’s Castleblayney.
The other two quarter-finals look pretty interesting with St Eunan’s Letterkenny paired with Loreto Coleraine and last March’s beaten finalists Holy Trinity Cookstown taking on St Patrick’s Downpatrick.
Meanwhile in the Danske Bank Markey Cup two games remain this week to sort the two qualifiers from Group A – Abbey CS v Glenties and Coláiste na Carraige v Coláiste Cholmchille Ballyshannon.
The team that tops the group – and that looks like Coláiste na Carraige – will play St Patrick’s Keady, while second place will take on St Joseph’s Donaghmore.
The other two ties are straight-forward : Carndonagh CS v St Malachy’s Belfast and St Columb’s Derry v St Columba’s Stranorlar.
The draw for the O’Doherty Cup had to be postponed until mid-January due to the backlog of fixtures caused the inclement weather.
Danske Bank MacRory Cup Quarter Final Play-Offs Wed 24 – Sun 28 January
(A) St Colman’s Newry v St Patrick’s Armagh
(B) Omagh CBS v St Macartan’s Monaghan
(C) Patrician High Carrickmacross v St Ciaran’s Ballygawley
(D) St Michael’s Enniskillen v St Patrick’s Cavan
(GAMES TO BE FINISHED ON THE DAY)
Danske Bank MacRory Cup Quarter Final – Wed 7th – Sun 11th February
St Patrick’s Maghera v D
St Mary’s Magherafelt v B
St Ronan’s Lurgan v C
St Paul’s Bessbrook v A
(REPLAYS IF NECESSARY ON WED 14 FEB)
Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup quarter-finals – on/before Sat 10 February
Our Lady’s and St Patrick’s Knock v St Louis Ballymena
Scoileanna Inis Eoghain v Our Lady’s Castleblayney.
St Eunan’s Letterkenny v Loreto Coleraine
Holy Trinity Cookstown v St Patrick’s Downpatrick.
Danske Bank Markey Cup quarter-finals – on/before Sat 10 February
Winners of Group A v St Patrick’s Keady
Runners-up in Group A v St Joseph’s Donaghmore.
Carndonagh CS v St Malachy’s Belfast
St Columb’s Derry v St Columba’s Stranorlar.