If Holy Trinity, Cookstown can pull off a win on Sunday, it will be “the pinnacle” of the players underage careers according to manager John McKeever.
McKeever, who takes charge of the side along with Tyrone legend Peter Canavan, hopes his men will do enough to get over the line.
“This would be the pinnacle of their underage careers. A lot of them have achieved success, they’ve come up through the different levels with Tyrone in development squads and under 17s and so on.”
“Some of them will be joining the (Tyrone) U20 panel was the MacRory’s over. They’ve had good successes with their clubs but to win a MacRory Cup would definitely be the pinnacle of their school career anyway. It’s a great place for us to be.”
It’s the schools first ever time to reach the MacRory Cup final, having only featured in the competition for three seasons.
“It’s a great occasion for the school. There’s a lot of excitement building up, for the semi-final but now were fortunate to be in a final, the buzz has even got larger again. We’re really looking forward to it.”
“To be in a final, it’s nearly dreamland for us. The thing about it is a lot of schools would love to be in this position. So, we have to get the heads down over the next couple of days and get the focus and the concentration for the game. We’re definitely looking forward to it.”
McKeever’s men have been the surprise package so far throughout the competition, seeing off both Abbey CBS and St Pat’s Maghera along the way.
“We would have come up through vocational and then four years ago we won the MacLarnon, this is our third year in the MacRory.”
“To beat those two schools this year, we’re obviously delighted about that. But we’ve one more massive hurdle ahead of us in St Mary’s, Magherafelt and we know the brilliant school that they are, the great management team that they have and the players they have. We would need to be at our best to stay with them.”
The new Portglenone manager suggests that just getting out of the group stages was a success for his team.
“I think it is a big surprise, us getting to the final, because our target at the start of the year would have been to firstly get by the knockout stages because we were in a tough enough group.”
“Just to even get to a quarter-final was an achievement. Two years ago, with lockdown there was no competition last year, two years ago we got beat in a quarter-final by St Pat’s, Maghera.
“That was the big challenge this year, to try and make progress to get over the quarter final. When we beat the Abbey in Pairc Esler a couple of weeks ago, that was a target that we had set, that we had got through.”
“We were nearly in bonus land in a semi-final. So, we got our heads down for the semi-final and now we’re in a final, so we’re delighted.”