The 2020 Danske Bank MacRory and MacLarnon Cup finals have been given the go ahead for a date in the first half of October.
This was confirmed late on Friday evening in a statement issued by Seamus Woods, secretary to the Ulster Schools’ GAA Council.
A meeting of the Management Committee of the GAA had taken place last Wednesday where it was decided that the All-Ireland dimension (the Hogan and Drummond Cups) would not be possible. However it gave its approval for Ulster schools’ Council to look for a date to complete their competitions.
Friday afternoon’s Ulster Council CCC then set aside “a date or dates between 9th – 16th October”.
August and September are already set aside for club competition and the preliminary round of the Ulster minor championship (Cavan v Monaghan) will take place on Saturday 17th October with the four quarter-finals a week later.
The MacRory and MacLarnon finals have been given the green light for the window before the minor competitions begin.
The statement from Woods added :
“Ulster Schools’ Council still intends to run the games as a double-header and will finalise the date and venue by early September after consulting with the other stakeholders involved – the schools, the competition sponsors Danske Bank and the BBC who have confirmed that they will transmit the MacRory Final ‘live’ as usual.”
Both the schools involved in the Danske Bank MacRory final declined to comment when contacted yesterday.
St Patrick’s Maghera stated that it was too early to comment at present given the current situation around the return to normal school business in September while St Colman’s Newry stated that they had not an opportunity to discuss the news.
After the finals were postponed in March, a spokesperson for each school indicated that they would welcome the MacRory final going ahead “at a time suitable to them”.
There was a more enthusiastic response from Our Lady’s and St Patrick’s Knock who had reached their first ever Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup final.
Frankie Wilson, who helps Liam McKenna with the Knock team, said that they are delighted to get a chance to play the game.
“We as a school were on a high after we beat St Paul’s Bessbrook in the semi-final. We had also reached the soccer final also on St Patrick’s Day with the same group of boys. And we went from that to having nothing.
“Obviously the logistics of organising training etc will be a problem. A number of our panel has officially left school and we generally have a good few students heading to English and Scottish universities, a few to Dublin, so bringing them together for some collective preparation training could prove very difficult.
“We really would not know how well it would work until late August or early September and we will get in touch with Ulster Council when we see the whole picture. Personally I would love to see it happen as the boys worked very hard to get there and were really looking forward to it.”
St Pius X Magherafelt team manager Pádraig O’Kane was also upbeat about the news.
“It is a positive development as far as we are concerned. We have a date to work towards, to see if it can happen and after the disappointment of the past few months that is great.
“We would hope that it happens because it has taken us 11 years to get back into a final at this level and there was a good buzz around the place after the semi-final.
“Again we would want to look at whole picture later in the summer, see how things pan out. But we would be optimistic.”
In a separate development Hogan Stand has reported that the Brother Bosco Cup final, the Leinster equivalent of the MacRory Cup final, will take place at 4pm in O’Connor Park Tullamore on Friday 24th July.
The teams involved are holders Naas CBS and St Joseph’s Rochefortbridge from Westmeath.