Omagh CBS full-back Barry McMenamin fits the Aghyaran mould

Barry McMenamin, in action here for Tyrone minors in 2022, will feature for Omagh CBS in Friday's Hogan Cup final
Barry McMenamin, in action here for Tyrone minors in 2022, will feature for Omagh CBS in Friday's Hogan Cup final

THE Aghyaran club is renowned across Tyrone and beyond for producing high-quality full-backs.

The likes of Paul Byrne, Ciaran McGarvey and Ronan McNamee have graced the club’s number three jersey and Barry McMenamin is now hoping to follow in their footsteps.

The St Davog’s clubman will  man the square for Omagh CBS against Summerhill College at Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day and, like the three aforementioned players, he is a hard-working, tough-tackling, tight-marking defender who is comfortable on the ball. 

“Obviously it won’t be a full Croke Park and we have only two players in the squad who have played there before so it’s a whole new experience for the majority of us but we have to try and put that to the back of our minds and concentrate on playing football,” says McMenamin.

“It has been a great season so far, winning a MacRory Cup title and now getting to play in a Hogan Cup final at Croke Park, it’s a dream come true to be honest.

‘‘There is an unbelievable buzz around the school as well as the squad of players and we are all looking forward to the game.”

Things have certainly clicked into place this season for ‘The Brothers’ and McMenamin puts that down to the strength in depth within the squad and also the unselfish work that is done on the field by all the players regardless of what position they line out.  

“There are boys on that bench who have come on throughout the season and done a great job and they are always pushing for a starting place and that keeps everyone on their toes which is the way that you want it,” admits Barry.

“Our forwards are very good at getting back and forcing turnovers and from a squad point of view that’s great to see as we are all in it together and everyone is prepared to put in the hard graft.

‘‘In the semi-final Naas didn’t perform the way that they are capable off but having said that we didn’t allow them to get into their stride.

‘‘We played very well on the day. We were out of the traps quickly and got a few turnovers early on and that got us going and everyone just clicked as a team and that set the tone for the rest of the game.”

McMenamin and his team-mates now find themselves only 60-plus minutes away from emulating the class of 2007 by winning only a second Hogan Cup title for the school, and while they played Summerhill in a friendly just after Christmas, this is a totally different ball game.  

“We got to play them just after Christmas down in Leitrim when conditions weren’t that good and it will be completely different on a surface like Croke Park,” he said.

“We know what they are like. They are a big side with plenty of quality and we will have to be at our best. Having said that you can’t take too much from that game as both sides were missing players and we certainly have developed a lot since then and no doubt they have too.”