St Paul’s to take second chance

March 14, 2016

St Paul’s Bessbrook will be hoping for a glorious St Patrick’s Day as they try to capture their first ever MacRory Cup schools title at the expense of St .Patrick’s, Maghera. The final at the Athletic Grounds Armagh @ 1.15pm will be a renewal of the 2013 final in which the Derry side triumphed by the minimum 2-5 to 0-10.

Judging by the way both teams have performed to get to the final, there should be very little separating them this time round but with 14 titles under their belts St Patrick’s will be favourites to add to their most recent successes back to back triumphs in 2013/14.

Maghera are very thankful to their goalkeeper Sean Ó’Caiside who pulled off a terrific last minute match winning save from Dungannon captain Liam Rafferty as his team held out for a 2-10 to 1-11 semi-final win over St Patrick’s, Dungannon.

In the other semi-final competition surprise packets St Ronan’s, Lurgan courtesy of two early goals led St Paul’s 2-4 to 0-8 at half-time but were outscored 1-9 to 0-2 in the second half as the Bessbrook boys booked a second final appearance 1-17 to 2-6.

Maghera like their final opponents were slow out of the blocks against Dungannon but once their key players Captain Conor Glass, Paddy Quigg, Shane McGuigan and Patrick Kearney kicked into gear they took control without being able to put away their opponents who very nearly stole it at the death, only for keeper Cassidy.

It was midfielder Jarly Og Burns, Liam Kerr, Shea Loye, Conor Gaskin and Boyle who sparked the Bessbrook semi-final comeback following their sluggish start. The key to Thursday’s result may well rest with how the star players on either side will perform.


Ahead of Thursday’s showdown there is one stand out statistic from the games played by both teams to reach the final. It is very clear that with 15 goals under their belts, with Shea McGuigan and Patrick Quigg topping the list with 3 apiece, that St Pat’s have the golden touch as their opponents could only muster 8 goals from their 7 games.

In contrast defensively it is the Bessbrook boys who have fared worst as they have let in a whopping 16 goals to their opponents 9. With the likes of McGuigan, Quigg, Jack Doherty and Conal Darragh on hand to poach goals the blockades will have to be well manned by the full-back line of Ronan McGuinness, Declan Loye, Cormac McDonnell in front of their goalkeeper Michael Murphy.

There are some very tasty matchups in prospect not least the battle for midfield supremacy between St Paul’s duo of Jarly Og and Damian O Hagan up against Glass and Docherty. Another key battle will be how Quigg and Gaskin match-up or how Downey will deal with the Brook’s Boyle.

Crucially for me it is the inside forward line of St Paul’s particularly Loye and Kerr who have both accumulated 30 points each to date who can point the way for St Paul’s to make history by capturing their first ever MacRory Cup in front of their very colorful and vocal support

How They Got There

St Patrick’s, Maghera

How they got there

St Paul’s Bessbrook 1-10 St Ronan’s Lurgan 0-7

St Paul’s Bessbrook 2-19 Omagh CBS 3-14

St Paul’s Bessbrook 1-9 St Patrick’s Cavan 2-18

St Paul’s Bessbrook 0-6 St Colman’s Newry 6-8

St Paul’s Bessbrook 3-8 St Patrick’s Armagh 2-7

St Paul’s Bessbrook 0-10 St Michael’s Enniskillen 1-3

St Paul’s Bessbrook 1-17 St Ronan’s Lurgan 2-6

FOR; 8-79 AGN; 16- 63

AVG FOR; 1-16  AVG AGN; 2-10


Liam Kerr 0-30, Shea Loye 0-30, Ryan Gaskin 1-6, Ryan McSherry 2-1, Aaron Boyle 2-0, Ziggy Burgiaichtas 2-0, Conor Clarke 0-4, Niall Magennis 1-0, Jarly Og Burns 0-2, Conor Magennis 0-2, Declan Loye 0-1, Josh Durnan 0-1, Damian O Hagan 0-1, Richard Keenan 0-1

St Paul’s, Bessbrook

How they got there

St Patrick’s, Maghera 0-8 St Michael’s, Enniskillen 2-5

St Patrick’s, Maghera 4-7 St Mary’s, Magherafelt 0-10

St Patrick’s, Maghera 5-12 St Macartan’s, Monaghan 2-9

St Patrick’s, Maghera 2-5 St Patrick’s, Dungannon 2-10

St Patrick’s, Maghera 0-11 Abbey CBS 1-7

St Patrick’s, Maghera 2-8 Omagh CBS 1-9

St Patrick’s, Maghera 2-10 St Patrick’s, Dungannon 1-11

FOR; 15-61 AGN; 9- 61

AVG FOR; 2-09 AVG AGN; 1-10


Shea McGuigan 3-14, Patrick Quigg 3-5, Conor Glass 1-9, Ryan McElwee 1-8, Francis Kearney 1-5, Conal Darragh 1-4, Larry Kielt 1-3, Jack Docherty 2-00, Conor Mulholland 1-2, Michael Mullan 0-3, Darragh McPeake 1-0, Patrick Kearney 0-2, Larry Kielt 0-2, Keelan Feeney 0-2, Peter Stewart 0-1, Odhran McKeever 0-1,

St. Paul’s Panel

The growing reputation of St Paul’s as an educational and sporting institution has seen an influx of students from varying parts of Down and Armagh. The healthy status in which the school is held certainly reflects when it comes to its sporting activities with numbers aplenty for all the sports undertaken by the school.

MacRory team manager John Rafferty has a panel of 35 players to try and win the coveted schools trophy for the first time. The panel of players represents a total of 16 different football clubs covering Armagh and Down with the following breakdown

Dromintee 9, Killeavy 5, Corrinshego, Lissummon, Mullaghbawn, Newry Shamrocks, Silverbridge, Shane O’Neill’s and Whitecross (all 2 each), An Riocht, Belleek, Ballyholland, Burren, Carrickcruppen, Newtownhamilton, Forkhill (all1 each)