Maghera will start final as favourites

Maghera celebrate winning the Danske Bank MacRory Cup in 2013
Maghera celebrate winning the Danske Bank MacRory Cup in 2013

Hogan Cup holders St Patrick’s Maghera will attempt to land back-to-back Danske Bank MacRory Cups when they take on Omagh CBS today at 1.15pm.

The holders have made relatively smooth progress towards today’s showdown in Armagh.

Magherafelt were beaten 1-14 to 1-5, a good St Macartan’s side 3-7 to 2-4 and then St Patrick’s Cavan by 0-9 to 1-4.

The holders’ defence has been outstanding and that includes keeper Ciaran McCloy who steadied them with some great stops when Cavan got off to a good start in the semi-final.

Captain Peter Hagan and midfielder Conor Glass have contributed crucial scores but the Glen Maghera trio of Danny Tallon, Conor Convery and Paul Gunning has been the cutting edge up front with Paul McAtamney also a threat.

As a result Maghera, with the experience of appearing in their third successive final, are the favourites to put together back-to-back titles.

“The build-up is always special to St Patrick’s Day,” said defender Cormac O’Doherty.

“You are buzzing, there are cameras in the school etc. It’s all about handling the pressure and hopefully we can do that.”

Omagh CBS have found the going more difficult but the adversity has revealed huge determination in the squad.

They have struggled to close out games all season. The semi-final against St Patrick’s Academy was a case in point, with an 2-8 to 0-6 interval lead whittled away to the minimum before time ran out on the East Tyrone school.

Ben McDonnell has put in a couple of great shifts at midfield and the half-forwards Aidan McSorley, Joe Colton and Ronan McHugh have picked up breaking ball.

“It’s going to be a massive challenge,” said Omagh CBS manager, Kieran Donnelly.

“This group has had challenges thrown at them all year and they have met them head on.”