Ruairi McHugh says Holy Trinity have matured since last year's MacRory Cup final

Ruairi McHugh hopes he will be holding aloft the Danske Bank MacRory Cup this weekend as Holy Trinity, Cookstown skipper
Ruairi McHugh hopes he will be holding aloft the Danske Bank MacRory Cup this weekend as Holy Trinity, Cookstown skipper Ruairi McHugh hopes he will be holding aloft the Danske Bank MacRory Cup this weekend as Holy Trinity, Cookstown skipper

LAST year was one to remember for Ruairi McHugh as not only did the big midfielder play in Holy Trinity’s first-ever appearance in the MacRory final but also a key role in Tyrone winning Ulster and All-Ireland U20 titles.

McHugh is once again central to Holy Trinity’s bid to win the coveted silverware for the first time in the school’s history and this time around he captains the side, a role that he cherishes.

“It’s an honour to lead this team out as they are a great bunch of lads and it’s a pleasure to be working with them,” he said.

“It’s great to play under our management team as well and I’m delighted that they made me captain because it is something that I really enjoy.

‘‘If things do go our way and that is the outcome on Sunday it would be unbelievable to become the first Holy Trinity player to lift the MacRory Cup and something that would stay for me the rest of my life.

‘‘There is a great buzz around the school in the build-up to the final and it’s especially great for the younger ones in the school as it gives them someone to look up to and inspires them to play MacRory Cup football as well.”

The lessons of last year’s defeat by St Mary’s, Magherafelt will hope to make Holy Trinity stronger this year and Ruairi feels that experience of the big day will do them no harm.

“You have to play the final and not the occasion, we learnt that from last year,” he acknowledged.

“It was a massive occasion last year with a big crowd but I think we will be alright this Sunday as there are a number of players who have that experience to call on.

‘‘Hopefully that will stand to us this time around and maybe bring a bit of extra maturity. There is no hiding from the fact that it’s a massive day with two Tyrone teams involved but I’m just really looking forward to playing in it.”

Holy Trinity have certainly done it the hard way after losing their opening group game to Dungannon.

They bounced back to finish second in their section thanks to wins over Magherafelt and Armagh and in the knock-out stages they have edged thrillers with Cavan, Maghera and Dungannon.

“We have had a few games in our campaign that have went right down to the wire but you always know that you are never going to get an easy route to the final,” he said.

“We have really pushed on from our opening group game against the Academy and while we played better the next day against Magherafelt we still knew that there was room for improvement.

‘‘I think that we have excelled in the games when our backs were to the wall. We pushed on and all the players within the squad have a never-say-die attitude.

‘‘Against both Maghera and Dungannon we were behind at different stages in the games but that’s when we kept our heads and stayed calm and kept doing what we were doing and we got out rewards.

‘‘Towards the end of the Academy game there was nobody really panicking as we had been in that situation before.

‘‘They had all the momentum coming from six down with time running out but we retained possession well and carved out the opening for Ryan Quinn which he took brilliantly.

‘‘Even after that Dungannon came at us in an attempt to force extra-time but our defence were very disciplined and didn’t give away any silly frees, a lot of credit for that win has to go to the defence.”



Holy Trinity, Cookstown 2-7 St Patrick’s, Dungannon 2-10

Holy Trinity, Cookstown 2-11  St Mary’s, Magherafelt 2-10

Holy Trinity, Cookstown 0-13 St Patrick’s, Dungannon 0-7


Holy Trinity, Cookstown 2-8 St Patrick’s, Cavan 1-7


Holy Trinity, Cookstown 1-10  St Patrick’s, Dungannon 1-9