GAA Football

2018/19 Danske Bank Ulster Schools' Football All Stars

Press Eye - Belfast Northern Ireland - 17th December 2018 Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ All Stars launch at Malone House, Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Séamas McAleenan

ALTHOUGH three new schools are recognised in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Allstar team for 2018-19 announced yesterday, and for the first time ever the players come from 15 different schools, one name still stands out above the others.

Centre-half back Matthew Murnaghan is the first student from the integrated sector to receive an Allstar.

Matthew attends Drumragh College on the outskirts of Omagh and was a member of the school team that made a breakthrough this time two years ago when they won the Danske Bank JJ Reilly Cup – again a first for schools in the integrated sector.

Since then, Sperrin in Magherafelt have also picked up a trophy, while yesterday in the Mid Ulster Sports Arena (MUSA) in Cookstown more history was made when two Integrated schools, Drumragh and Lagan College, Belfast contested this year’s JJ Reilly Cup final, with Lagan coming out on top.

Matthew is an Ulster and All-Ireland medallist with the Tyrone U17s from 2017. He has also played at U20 level for the county in 2018 and a couple of weeks ago Micky Harte brought him into the senior county panel following some outstanding displays for Killyclogher minors and seniors, both of whom reached theire respective county championship finals this year.

There are five other members of the Tyrone U17 All-Ireland-winning team included in the 32nd Allstar football selection announced by Ulster Schools’ chairman Jimmy Smyth at a reception hosted by sponsors Danske Bank in Riddell Hall in Belfast.

They are midfielder Joe Oguz from St Ciaran’s, Ballygawley and four forwards – Michael Conroy at centre-forward and the inside line of Ryan McCabe (St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon), Mark Hayes (Omagh CBS) and Tiarnan Quinn (Holy Trinity, Cookstown).

Conroy – who is a student in St Patrick’s, Armagh – was the recipient of the inaugural Danske Bank Player of the Month Award in October following his exploits with the school’s MacRory Cup team.

Drumragh is not the only school to have a first Allstar. St Malachy’s, Castlewellan (Brendan McKey) and Lumen Christi, Derry (Ben McCarron) stretch to 43 the number of schools that have had football Allstars awarded to them.

McCarron was in brilliant form last Friday evening when he scored a first half hat-trick of goals on his way to a 3-5 total as Lumen Christi lined up a quarter-final tie in mid-January with holders Coláiste Ailigh, Letterkenny in the Danske Bank Markey Cup.

Ben has won minor and U20 Ulster medals with Derry, while Ronan Grimes and Robbie Hanratty won the Ulster minor league and championship double in 2018 with Monaghan.

Mark Hayes has eight full Irish caps and 12 Northern Ireland caps in basketball, while Patrick Brooks from St Colman’s, Newry has won two All-Ireland Cross Country medals.

Another interesting inclusion is full-back Naoise Ó Mianáin. Apart from his sporting achievements Naoise has appeared on screen, having a main part in the 2014 Northern Ireland Screen production 'A Short Film About Fear'.

This is the first time that the team has been drawn from 15 different schools, something that Jimmy Smyth, chairman of the Ulster Schools’ Council, touched on as he congratulated the recipients.

“This team has been drawn from 15 different schools, right across the various grades of football at senior level. The lads have gone through a tough selection process and can be proud of their selection in such an elite team.”

“I am particularly pleased to see three new schools here including a first for the Integrated sector and we look forward to seeing more players in the years to come as Gaelic games continue to grow and flourish in the likes of Drumragh College.”

Oonagh Murtagh, Head of South Business Centre at Danske Bank, added her congratulations: “The Ulster Colleges’ All-Stars is an outstanding initiative and something that we at Danske Bank are extremely proud to be part of.

“The commitment and dedication required to even be nominated for an All-Star award is immense and I would like to congratulate all of the players who were selected to participate in the trials, as well as the 15 outstanding players we are honouring here today.”

The football and hurling teams will be honoured at a reception after the completion of the MacRory, MacLarnon and other senior football competitions in late March.

2018-19 Danske Bank Ulster Schools Football All Stars

1 Shea Magill (St Paul’s, Bessbrook)

2 Ronan Grimes (Patrician High School, Carrickmacross)

3 Naoise Ó Mianáin (St Columb’s, Derry)

4 Paul Martin (Abbey CBS, Newry)

5 Brendan McKey (St Malachy’s, Castlewellan)

6 Matthew Murnaghan (Drumragh Integrated College, Omagh)

7 Patrick Brooks (St Colman’s, Newry)

8 Brandon Horan (St Michael’s, Enniskillen)

9 Joe Oguz (St Ciaran’s, Ballygawley)

10 Ben McCarron (Lumen Christi, Derry)

11 Michael Conroy (St Patrick’s Grammar, Armagh)

12 Robbie Hanratty (Our Lady’s, Castleblayney)

13 Ryan McCabe (St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon)

14 Mark Hayes (Omagh CBS)

15 Tiarnan Quinn (Holy Trinity, Cookstown)

Schools’ Football All-stars roll of honour 1988 - 2019

St Patrick’s, Maghera 55

Abbey CBS, Newry 48

St Patrick’s, Armagh 43

St Michael’s, Enniskillen 41

Omagh CBS 41

St Colman’s, Newry 39

St Patrick’s, Dungannon 27

St Mary’s, Magherafelt 23

St MacCartan’s, Monaghan 20

St Patrick’s, Downpatrick 12

St Michael’s, Lurgan / St Ronan’s Lurgan 12

St Eunan’s, Letterkenny 10

Our Lady’s, Castleblaney 10

St Louis, Kilkeel 9

St Patrick’s, Keady 8

St Paul’s Bessbrook 8

St Mary’s CBS, Belfast 7

Patrician High, Carrickmacross 7

St Columb’s, Derry 7

St Patrick’s, Cavan 6

Our Lady & St Patrick’s, Knock 6

St Pius X, Magherafelt 5

Holy Trinity Cookstown 5

St Ciaran’s Ballygawley 4

De La Salle Ballyshannon 3

La Salle, Belfast 2

Loreto, Coleraine 2

Rathmore Grammar, Belfast 2

St Louis, Ballymena 2

St Columba’s, Stranorlar 2

Aquinas Grammar, Belfast 1

Holy Cross, Strabane 1

Pobalscoil, Falcarragh 1

St Joseph’s Donaghmore 1

St MacNissi’s, Garron Tower 1

St Malachy’s, Belfast 1

St Columban’s, Kilkeel 1

Abbey Vocational, Donegal 1

St Mary’s, Limavady 1

Coláiste na Carraige, Carrick 1

Drumragh Integrated, Omagh 1

St Malachy’s, Castlewellan 1

Lumen Christi, Derry 1




Shea Magill

School: St Paul’s, Bessbrook

Club: Killeavy

ALTHOUGH Shea has represented his school in both the Danske Bank Rannafast Shield and Treanor Cup finals, he has not been fortunate enough to collect winners’ medals.

However, at club level he has been a little luckier and holds Armagh U16 league and Féile na nÓg medals.

Shea plays a number of sports including hurling and soccer and is in much demand.


Right corner-back

Ronan Grimes

School: Patrician High School, Carrickmacross

Club: Killanny

RONAN has captained Patrician High to the Danske Bank Brock Cup and he also holds a medal for Corn Cholmchille.

He has played for Monaghan through the age groups and holds Ulster minor league and championship medals as well as a Gerry Reilly U16 tournament souvenir, while at club level he captained Killanny to the Division Three U16 double. Recently they also won the Division One minor title.



Naoise Ó Mianáin

School: St Columb’s, Derry

Club: Craigbane

NAOISE holds Danske Bank Ward and Corn Cúchulainn medals from his years playing for Lumen Christi in schools’ competitions and with Craigbane he has won a Derry U16B championship.

Apart from his sporting achievements Naoise has appeared on screen, having a main part in the 2014 Northern Ireland Screen production A Short Film About Fear


Left corner-back

Paul Martin

School: Abbey CBS, Newry

Club: Dromintee

PAUL is vice-captain of the school MacRory Cup team that knocked out last year’s finalists St Mary’s, Magherafelt at the start of December. He has represented Armagh at under-age level through minors to the U20 panel that reached the 2018 Ulster final.

Paul has captained his club teams at different age levels and won an Armagh U14 championship and minor league.


Right half-back

Brendan McKey

School: St Malachy’s, Castlewellan

Club: Dromara

BRENDAN is the first player from his school or club to earn an Ulster Schools’ Allstar. With St Malachy’s he has won a Danske Bank Rafferty Cup and McDevitt Cup and is the current MacLarnon Cup captain. Brendan has also won a QUB Future Star award two years ago.

He has represented Down at minor level and won U14 and U16 county championships with Dromara.


Centre half-back

Matthew Murnaghan

School: Drumragh Integrated College, Omagh

Club: St Mary’s, Killyclogher

MATTHEW is the first ever Ulster Schools’ Allstar to come from the integrated sector and was the captain of the Drumragh team that broke new ground by winning the 2016 JJ Reilly Cup.

Matthew is an Ulster and All-Ireland medallist with the Tyrone U17s from 2017, has played at U20 level for Tyrone this season and a couple of weeks ago Micky Harte has brought him into the senior county panel.

He has had a successful 2018 at club level, captaining the minors in their run to the county final and was in the Killyclogher senior team that also reached the final. As a result he was awarded the Teamtalkmag and O’Neill’s Young Footballer of 2018.


Left half-back

Patrick Brooks

School: St Colman’s, Newry

Club: John Martin’s, Glenn

PATRICK has played at all levels for St Colman’s and was a member of the Down U17 side that won the Ulster league title, while with Glenn he has won a South Down minor title.

Patrick also excels in Track Athletics and Cross Country and has won two All-Ireland Cross Country medals



Brandon Horan

School: St Michael’s, Enniskillen

Club: Enniskillen Gaels

BRANDON has captained his school at both Rannafast and MacRory Cup level and is in his third season with the MacRory team. He has represented Fermanagh at all under-age levels and was recently called into the county senior squad for 2019.

With the Gaels he has won three minor league and championship and an Ulster minor club title as well as the Fermanagh Division Two league. Brandon’s father has represented Galway in hurling



Joe Oguz

School: St Ciaran’s, Ballygawley

Club: Errigal Ciaran

JOSEPH has won medals for the Danske Bank Treanor, Rafferty and MacLarnon Cups during his time in St Ciaran’s and he is an Ulster and All-Ireland U17 medallist with Tyrone from 2017.

In the Errigal Ciaran colours he has won back-to-back Tyrone minor titles and was part of the senior team that recently won the county Division One league.

Joseph takes his football from his mother Selena who has Tyrone and Ulster medals with her club.


Right-half forward

Ben McCarron

School: Lumen Christi, Derry

Club: Brian Óg, Steelstown

BEN is the first player from Lumen Christi to win a Danske Bank Schools’ Allstar. He has helped Lumen Christi to the Danske Bank Ward and Cúchulainn Cup titles.

He has won Ulster minor and U20 titles with Derry and an U16B championship with his club.

For his under-age exploits with Derry, Ben was awarded an All-Ireland Eirgrid All-star.


Centre-half forward

Michael Conroy

School: St Patrick’s, Armagh

Club: Tir na nÓg Moy

MICHAEL was the inaugural winner of the Danske Bank Footballer of the month award for his MacRory exploits with St Patrick’s, Armagh during Octover, but his only Ulster schools’ medal came in the Danske Bank Brock Cup while he was a student in St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon.

Another member of the successful Tyrone Ulster and All-Ireland U17 team of 2017, Michael has won a Grade 2 championship with the Moy as well as two U21 Tyrone titles.


Left-half forward

Robbie Hanratty

School: Our Lady’s, Castleblayney

Club: Castleblayney Faughs

ROBBIE was in the school team that reached the Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup final two seasons ago, while with Monaghan minors he has won the Ulster league and championship double in 2018. He also has a Gerry Reilly Cup medal from earlier in his county career.

With the Faughs he has won an U16 Division One championship and the Minor Division Two double.

Robbie is also an accomplished basketball and soccer player with his school.


Right-corner forward

Ryan McCabe

School: St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon

Club: Clonoe O’Raghallaigh’s

RYAN helped the Academy to the Danske Bank Brock Cup title and has played in both the Corn na nÓg and Rannafast Cup finals. He is another of the Tyrone Ulster and All-Ireland winning U17 team of 2017.



Mark Hayes

School: Omagh CBS

Club: St Mary’s, Killyclogher

MARK is the second member of St Mary’s, Killyclogher to receive an award. He is a Danske Bank Dalton Cup winner with the Brothers and another member of the Ulster and All-Ireland winning Tyrone U17s from 2017. He has recently been called into the county U20 panel for the season ahead.

He has captained the club in one of the two Tyrone U16 finals and in 2018 helped the minors in their run to the county final.

Mark is also an accomplished basketball player with eight full Irish caps and 12 more with Northern Ireland.


Left-corner forward

Tiarnan Quinn

School: Holy Trinity, Cookstown

Club: Coalisland Na Fianna

TIARNAN was part of the Holy Trinity team that won the Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup last March and then went on to win the All-Ireland Paddy Drummond Cup in Croke Park. He also won the inaugural All-Ireland U17 championship in Croke Park to add to the provincial success earlier in 2017.

He has won Tyrone U16, minor and senior championship medals with Na Fianna.

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