St Michael's skipper Brandon Horan dedicates MacRory Cup win to Oisin McGrath as Dominic Corrigan tips players for inter-county stardom
BRANDON Horan dedicated Monday’s MacRory Cup win to the memory of St Michael’s Enniskillen student Oisin McGrath, who died tragically at the school four years ago.
In a poignant and thoughtful moment amid the ecstatic post-match celebrations, St Michael’s captain Horan said: “That was for him” as he remembered the 13-year-old from Belcoo who died after he was struck by another pupil during a schoolyard argument over a football in 2015.
“Oisin was the year below me but he would definitely have been on the team,” added Horan after St Michael’s had recorded a stunning win for the Fermanagh college against Omagh CBS.
“He died tragically and that was for him. He was looking down on us today.”
After their 0-16 to 2-6 win, St Michael’s now set their sights on a Hogan Cup semi-final against Connacht champions St Colman’s, Claremorris next Wednesday (March 27).
“It’s an honour to be captain of a great team but we know we have a job to do – the Hogan has to come home as well,” said Horan.
“It’s a credit to our effort, we knew we had the quality but it’s all about hard work and thankfully we got the performance today. It’s unreal to have a MacCrory Cup in the trophy cabinet.
“We knew we had it in us but it’s all about the performance on the day. The cameras were there so there would have been a few nerves but I don’t think we showed any nerves.
“Boys like Darragh MacBrien and Micheal (Glynn) stepped up to the plate, they’re only lower sixth and they’ll go on to be superstars. I knew they had it in them, throughout the year they’ve been our main players and Conor Love as well.
“It’s an honour to be in a Hogan Cup semi-final and hopefully we can do the province proud.”
The Enniskillen Gaels player was invited to link up with Rory Gallagher’s Fermanagh squad this year but had to turn down the offer to concentrate on playing for the school and studying for his A-Levels.
He has benefitted from the input of his club coaches – including former Fermanagh star Ryan McCluskey – who, he said, had helped him get into the “shape of my life”.
“The work we did for that was total gym work and it has got me in the shape of my life,” he said.
“I was called into the Gaels’ senior panel this year and it’s all about strength and conditioning and running, it has definitely made me a better player and it’s a credit to ‘Clucker’ (McCluskey) and boys like Brian McAleer. They push you on and really inspire you.”
His club coaches have had their impact and so too have members of the St Michael’s backroom team which includes Fermanagh football doyen Dominic Corrigan as well as current Tyrone star Richard Donnelly and Down and Kilcoo star Conor Laverty.
“You learn from Richie and you learn from Conor,” said Horan.
“Conor is just immense, he gets us motivated, the most motivated I’ve ever been and it’s great to have experienced like that around the team.
“Then you have the main man Dominic Corrigan who is known for his experience in getting results and thankfully we got one today.
“Mark McGoldrick (assistant-manager and St Michael’s pupil who cannot play contact sports because of a health condition) is an inspiration as well. You don’t have to have experience to be able to inspire and he’s someone who inspires me. It’s a great dressingroom.”
DOMINIC Corrigan, manager of MacRory Cup champions St Michael’s College, Enniskillen, has tipped several of his players to make a breakthrough at senior inter-county level “in the very near future”.
Former Fermanagh player and manager Corrigan is confident that midfielder Brandon Horan, sweeper Josh Largo-Ellis and several of the fleet-footed skilful forwards who ran riot against Omagh CBS in Monday’s final will go on to have success with the Ernemen.
Even before he began plucking balls out of the air, Horan’s footballing quality was evident and the St Michael’s skipper provided the midfield platform for the likes of Micheal Glynn and Darragh MacBrien to flourish at the Athletic Grounds.
“Brandon is one of the top midfielders in Ireland at this level,” said Corrigan.
“Some of his catches in the second half really took the pressure off us because they were in the ascendancy and we were under pressure but Brandon’s relieving catches really turned the tide in our favour. He was superb.
“The good thing about this MacRory team is that there’s going to be at least half-a-dozen of them playing county senior football in the very near future, not the distant future.
“They have a great attitude, they have great quality and the likes of Josh Largo, Brandon, McDaid, Luke Flanagan and three or four of our forwards are real quality.
“This is the first St Michael’s MacCrory team that was ever an all-Fermanagh team because we have no Trillick boys this year. We’re disappointed at that but hopefully we’ll have Trillick men back with us next year.”