McKeever hopeful Holy Trinity can go one better in MacRory Cup decider this year

Jack Martin of Holy Trinity, Cookstown has a pop at the posts during his side's MacRory Cup semi-final win over St Patrick's, Dungannon Picture: Oliver McVeigh
Jack Martin of Holy Trinity, Cookstown has a pop at the posts during his side's MacRory Cup semi-final win over St Patrick's, Dungannon Picture: Oliver McVeigh

HAVING experienced firsthand what MacRory Cup final day is all about John McKeever will be hoping that Holy Trinity Cookstown can go one better than 12 months ago and annex the coveted silverware this time around.

The Portglenone clubman is joint manager along with former pupil and Tyrone star Kieran McGeary and he is eager to make up for the disappointment of last season when they lost out to St.Marys Magherafelt in the decider.

“There was a lot of hype around our first final last year and perhaps we were guilty of playing the occasion instead of the final,” admits John.

“We started very slowly and conceded two early goals and we were always playing catch up after that against a St.Marys side who were deserving winners on the day. As a management team we will hope to have learned from that.

We have a number of players still onboard from last year and they will have that experience and they will also know how devastated it was to lose out to hopefully we can get over the line this time.

To get to back to back MacRory Cup Finals for our school is some achievement considering that we are only in the competition this last four years. We won the MacLarnon and All Ireland and decided to make the step up and we haven’t looked back since.

Its testament to the level of coaching that has been going on in the school this past number of years both with boys and girls football. We are on an upward curve and a lot of people have played their part in that success.”

Holy Trinity are certainly in the final on merit as they have produced their best football in the competition when their backs are to the wall.

“We were in a group of death and when we lost our first game to Dungannon there was no safety net,” said John.

“In the second game holders St.Marys Magherafelt were well on top at halftime and probably should have been out of sight. A few choice words were said at halftime and in the second period we were a totally transformed side playing quality football and that probably was the turning point in our campaign.

Against Cavan we were only a point in front but got an injury time goal and then against Maghera in the quarter final our boys showed great character and resolve to dig out a result in the closing stages when we were three points behind.

They carried out that trait last day out against Dungannon as well. After playing so well to get six in front they saw that lead evaporate and going into injury time there looked like there was only going to be one winner as the Academy had the momentum but our boys stuck at it with Ryan Quinn getting the winner.

After that scored what really pleased me was the way that we defended and turned over the ball on two occasions and it was more relief than anything when the final whistle sounded.

It will be the same in the final against Omagh CBS this weekend, I would say that there will only be a kick of the ball in it. Omagh have a serious tradition in the competition while we haven’t won it.

The players will know each other inside out and we will go in as underdogs again but that won’t faze us. That tag suits us and we will keep the heads down and work hard. One thing is for sure our boys will play to the final whistle every time and that is all you can ask and if it’s good enough then so be it.”