Diarmuid McNulty hoping to help Omagh CBS's new generation live their dream

The Omagh CBS management team (left to right) Pat McNabb, Diarmuid McNulty and Ciaran McBride Picture by Oliver McVeigh
The Omagh CBS management team (left to right) Pat McNabb, Diarmuid McNulty and Ciaran McBride Picture by Oliver McVeigh The Omagh CBS management team (left to right) Pat McNabb, Diarmuid McNulty and Ciaran McBride Picture by Oliver McVeigh

DIARMUID McNulty is part of the Omagh CBS management team with Pat McNabb and Ciaran McBride and the Gortin man knows what his players are going through as they prepare for Sunday’s shoot-out with Holy Trinity, Cookstown in the MacRory Cup final.

That’s because he was full-forward on the last side from ‘the Brothers’ to get their hands on the famous trophy. That was back in 2007 in a side that was managed by McBride and Noel Donnelly and went all the way to Hogan Cup success as well.

“Winning the MacRory Cup is what some boys have dreamt about since they walked through the doors of ‘the Brothers’ and if that’s the goal then they have to realise they need to learn to prepare well for the final because the preparation is important,” said McNulty.

“If you prepare well then hopefully the result will take care of itself. Every year you start the season asking yourself the question ‘can we get to a MacRory Cup final?’ and the boys in the group said that they would do the best that they can to achieve that.

“We have worked hard and we were happy with the way that we were progressing during the group games but you don’t really know where you are at until it comes to knockout football.”

Having secured an automatic quarter-final berth as group winners Omagh have been severely tested in their two knockout games to date and in both they showed great battling spirit to come from behind in both by hitting the last four points each time to secure narrow wins.

“The quarter-final against St Colman’s [Newry] was a real tough battle and the lads had to show what they were made off to come from two points down late on but I think that game stood to us,” said McNulty.

“In the semi-final it was again a massive battle but we knew what [Patrician] Carrickmacross were going to bring to the table. They were a big, physical side and we had to move the ball quickly and thankfully we came out on the right side of it.

“To be fair, in the second half I felt that we controlled the game but we just couldn’t get the scores.

“Things that you say to the players at half-time sometimes don’t just happen and that’s okay. You have to build a wee bit of resilience in the boys and it was needed as Carrickmacross moved three points clear.

“I don’t think it’s part of the plan [to hit the last four scores] but if the boys can execute under pressure it’s a sign that the boys are still sticking to the plan rather than forcing it. I would be confident that our forwards will keep kicking those scores.”

While their forward line took the right options in the white heat of battle, at the other end of the field their defence also stood up to be counted when it mattered most.

“I would have to say that our defence has been going well,” said McNulty.

“There has been a lot of work put into it and they are starting to understand the system that we are trying to play.

“In the last few minutes of the semi-final there was great discipline, there was no attempt to give away a foul, it was just making sure that they weren’t going to get a shot away from a nice position and eventually we got the turnover that saw us through.”

In Sunday’s decider they face a side bidding to go one better than last year and while that will no doubt be an advantage to Holy Trinity it’s all about playing the game on the day.

“We know that Holy Trinity have got all the experience of being there last year and seeing what it is like and all the razzmatazz that goes along with it so they definitely will have a better handle on how to deal with it,” said McNulty.

“We just have to try and talk our boys through the things that they will want to do and the things that they will not want to do but at the end of the day it’s a game of football and that is the message that we are trying to get through and focus on.”