GAA Football

Schools looking to make up ground in second round of MacRory Cup games

Séamas McAleenan

Danske Bank Mac Rory Cup

THERE are two early second round ties in the Danske Bank MacRory Cup this weekend and already some teams are in a spot of bother.

St Patrick's, Armagh lost their opening game to holders St Mary's, Magherafelt by a margin of eight points just over a week ago. The two schools had met in the same fixture last year and Armagh struggled more in that game than in last week's opener.

There were a few positives for Armagh, now under the stewardship of Damian McAlary, with Tadhg Grimley, Rónán O'Hanlon, Ryan Nugent and Ben Conroy in particular rising to the occasion. There was also a range of scorers in their attack and definite signs that the have matured from last season.

However, they are in a tough group and will feel that they will need to get something out of this fixture with St Patrick's Academy in Clonmore.

The Academy may not have the services of Theo Lowe who is due to line out with Stewartstown in the Ulster club championship less than 24 hours after the throw in at Clonmore. Lowe had the ball in the Holy Trinity net in the first couple of minutes of that derby game last week.

The Academy had good spells in that game, particularly during the first half when they built up a lead of 1-7 to 0-2. However they were back in an arm wrestle after conceding two penalty goals either side of half time.

Nevertheless they managed to dig themselves out of the hole and win by three points. This game will be another test, particularly if Lowe is absent.

Should the worst happen to St Colman's tomorrow in Eglish and they don't get anything from their game with St Patrick's, Maghera, they will not suffer a pre-Christmas exit from the competition.

The reason they will not share the same fate as those who finish bottom of the other groups is that there are only three teams in Group D and all three will make the knock-out stages.

After their loss to Our Lady's, Castleblayney in Páirc Esler last Wednesday, it looks likely that the 20 times champions will face a play-off in early January.

Maghera didn't have a first round game and therefore make their debut in this tie. However a number of them were involved in the school's quarter-final win over St Mary's CBGS in the Mageean Cup last week and have a semi-final with St Louis Ballymena coming up next week.

Adam McLaughlin, Fionn McEldowney and Tiernan McCormick played in defence in last year's semi-final loss to Holy Trinity, as did Dara McPeake at midfield. Up front Johnny McGuckian and Ciaran Chambers are regular score-getters.

Based on how the respective panels fared on their journey through their school careers, Maghera look the more capable of getting a victory.

However St Colman's will have learned lessons from last week's defeat and should come out fighting; another interesting and competitive MacRory game between the pair.

Danske Bank Mac Rory Cup Second Round fixtures next week

Today

St Patrick's Armagh v St Patrick's Academy (Clonmore, 2pm)

Saturday, November 26

Eglish, 11.00am: St Patrick's Maghera v St Colman's, Newry (Eglish, 11am)

Tuesday, November 29

St Michael's, Enniskillen v St Patrick's, Cavan (Derrylin, 11am)

St Eunan's, Letterkenny v Omagh CBS (Glenswilly, 2pm)

Wednesday, November 30

Holy Trinity, Cookstown v St Mary's, Magherafelt (Fr Rock's ,Cookstown, 2pm)

Patrician, Carrickmacross v St Macartan's, Monaghan (Corduff, 2.30pm)

Abbey CBS v St Ronan's Lurgan (Páirc Esler, 7pm)