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Cool hand Brady laps up stunning Cup coup

By John Campbell

Kevin Brady's quiet, laid back demeanour all but masked the fact that he had just achieved one of the most significant feats in Ulster Colleges' football history.

The former Antrim player's imprint was on every facet of play as his St Mary's GS Magherafelt side surged to their first MacRory Cup success at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh yesterday.

As the celebrations swirled around him, Brady took stock of a victory that he described as being "up there with some of the best days I have enjoyed in sport".

Pitted against a school that had claimed the trophy on 19 occasions, Brady's boys had entered the contest as underdogs but emerged as a side reincarnated.

"They just put their heads down and got on with the job," said Brady. "We did not go into the match thinking about records or anything like that, we just wanted to give our best possible performance and I'm happy to say that we achieved that.

"I thought that the players maintained their effort right to the end and that was very pleasing. We were fortunate in that St Colman's created a few goal chances but were not able to take them although I have to praise our defence and particularly our goalkeeper Odhran Lynch for that.

"We have had hard matches all along the way in the MacRory Cup and this helped to steel us for this final. Sometimes a match such as this can prove a nervy occasion because we have to remember that these are still schoolboys but I was delighted with the way in which they faced up to the challenge."

Brady's attention will now turn to the All-Ireland colleges sector - the Hogan Cup - in which his side are due to play on Wednesday.

"It does not give us much respite but then our neighbours St Patrick's College, Maghera faced the same problem last year," added Brady.

Team captain Declan Cassidy lauded the character and courage of the side.

"I thought the passion and determination the boys showed in making this our trophy were superb," declared Cassidy.

"It's just unbelievable. I have been at St Mary's for seven years now and I never thought for an instant that I would be lifting the MacRory Cup.

"I am delighted for everyone at the school, for my family who are wonderfully supportive and for my club. All can share in this success and it's humbling for me to see the joy that our win has brought to so many people."

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