Holy Trinity and Abbey must rediscover early group form in MacRory Cup quarter-final clash

Danske Bank MacRory Cup quarter-final: Holy Trinity Cookstown v Abbey CBS (tomorrow, Pairc Esler, 7pm)

BOTH Holy Trinity and Abbey CBS showed potential in their group games, until the challenge was put up to them and then they struggled to get into a rhythm.

Abbey impressed in their opening game against Knock. They went a player down before the break, but upped the ante significantly to run out comfortable winners.

Their real challenge, however, came during the second group game despite the fact that they got a great start with two excellent goals. When St Mary’s, Magherafelt took them on after half-time, they conceded a number of points and could not get their attack back in scoring form.

The same happened to Holy Trinity in their group. They were devastating in the first game, making a sudden spurt after half time to clock up a 5-7 to 1-7 win over St Macartan’s. They also dealt well with St Eunan’s, Letterkenny.

However, they came unstuck in the east Tyrone derby with the Academy taking a 1-7 to 0-1 lead after 15 minutes. From that point on, they were never going to win the game, but they showed patches of good play and eventually lost by five points.

Those patches of form might be an indicator that they are best equipped to deal with this quarter-final challenge. As many as half a dozen have featured in the Tyrone minor colours including Shea Quinn last year and Callan Kelly, Conan Devlin, Ruairí McHugh, Brian Hampsey and Jack Martin the year before.

Add in the experience gained by Blaine Ryan and Shea Lawn during Moortown’s run to the Ulster intermediate final at the weekend and plenty of the panel can bring big game know-how to the school team.

Zach Murdoch and Eoin Loughran are the key men in the Abbey attack. They have other experienced players in Eoin McKernan, Pearse Blessing, Matthew Morgan and Adam Garvey who has captained Armagh at U21 level.

If Holy Trinity have learned their lesson from the start to their last game against the Academy, they have enough on board to reach the semi-finals of the MacRory Cup for the first time.