Omagh CBS’s Ruairi McCullagh keen to play his part in historic final for the school

Friday 26th January 2024
Ruairi McCullagh of Omagh CBS in action against Rory Small of St Marys Magherafelt in the MacRory cup semi final at Coalisland  Co. Tyrone.  Pictures Oliver McVeigh
Ruairi McCullagh of Omagh CBS in action against Rory Small of St Mary's, Magherafelt in the MacRory cup semi-final at Coalisland Picture: Oliver McVeigh (Oliver McVeigh)

Omagh CBS are bidding to make history at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday afternoon when they attempt to retain the coveted Danske Bank MacRory Cup for the first time and if they are to achieve that then Ruairi McCullagh will have a key role to play.

The Loughmacrory man is one of the survivors from last season’s all conquering side, winning the man of the match award in the Hogan Cup Final at Croke Park. He is enjoying the build up to the final and praises the input that the new players in the squad have made this year.

“Speaking from the experience of last year the two weeks prior to the final are the two best weeks as all the teachers know that our heads aren’t really in the books and they are letting us off a little and letting us focus on the football,” said McCullagh.

“The campaign has followed a similar pattern to last year in that we once again just scrapped through in the quarter- and semi-finals and hopefully we can do the same again on Sunday.

“The newcomers this year have more than held their own and they know that if they need a chat with any of us in the build up or on the day to settle the nerves a wee bit they only have to ask.

If you look at boys like Mark Corcoran and Paudie Dillon who weren’t even in the squad last year and are now starting this year that is testament to the players themselves and fair play to them. Its always good to freshen things up a little and it has worked well for us to date.”

Omagh looked impressive for three quarters of their gamer against Castleblayney in the quarter final and also looked good in the first half against Magherafelt last time out but on both occasions they were hanging on a little prior to the final whistle. Ruairi knows that is something that they have to work on for Sunday against opponents that he rates highly.

“We have played well at stages in both of our knockout games but on both occasions we just did enough to get through but we will need to play better against Dungannon,” he said.

“Finals are about coming together on the day and playing as a team and going out and expressing ourselves. I’m not surprised at all that they have reached the final. If you look at some of the players that they have its scary the threat that they pose.

Obviously they beat a very good Donaghmore side who were probably favourites for that game so that shows the quality they they have within their team.

They looked dead and buried against Carrickmacross when they came back from five down with four minutes to play and that shows the sort of character and tradition that their school has and we know that going into this game. Its obviously going to be a hard challenge but its one that we are looking forward to and hopefully we can step it up.”