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Corrigan singles out majestic Horan amid a valiant team effort

 

Silver lining: Brandon Horan lifts the trophy for St Michael’s
Silver lining: Brandon Horan lifts the trophy for St Michael’s
Tough scrap: St Michael’s Tom Keenan with Ruairi O Cinneide
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

St Michael's boss Dominic Corrigan was winning his fourth MacRory Cup as manager and put the praise onto a squad that, while they had to battle to reach this point, cracked open the champagne football for the showpiece occasion.

With some players already asked into the Fermanagh senior squad, this could be a fruitful harvest.

"It's always about the players, not about the manager or selector or anything like that, it is about the players, and I always say they are the central piece of the jigsaw and they did the business today," said Corrigan.

"They played some quality football. The second half, they showed their resilience and that probably got us through the quarter and the semi-final, it got us through eventually today as well."

Detailing how they performed, he said: "We had a great platform in Brandon Horan and Joe McDaid (in midfield) and then we had quality up front, Darragh McBrien especially, Michael Glynn, Conor Love, as good a forwards as anyone in Ulster at that age group.

"Then you have the likes of Josh Largo at the back sweeping, that extra defender. We were very compact at the back and very clinical up front and that was the highlight of the first half.

"The highlight of the second half was the response to the two goals and that was very good."

While McBrien scored eight points and was a viable option as man of the match, the sheer leadership displayed by Enniskillen Gaels midfielder Horan was sensational. He was clever enough to isolate himself from a crowd when St Michael's had a kickout and strong enough to claim every one.

"Brandon Horan is probably one of the top midfielders in Ireland at this level and some of his catches in the second half really took the pressure off us because they were in the ascendency, we were under pressure but Brandon's relieving catches really turned the tide in our favour, so certainly, he would have to be in contention for man of the match. He was superb," Corrigan said.

He was also mindful to mention the school's late pupil, Oisin McGrath, in his captain's acceptance speech, something that pleased Corrigan.

"Brandon would have been a year older but half of the group are year 13s and the same year as Oisin. Oisin would have been in that panel today so it was very respectful of Brandon and it shows you the quality of the group that even in their great moment of joy they thought of that."

Omagh CBS manager Kieran Donnelly has known great success so far in his management career, but this final defeat will rank up there with the one in November when his Scotstown team were edged out in the Ulster club final by Gaoth Dobhair.

Still, his class shone through when the former St Michael's pupil said: "They are a tremendous team. We knew going into it they were favourites. They beat an excellent Maghera team and we knew we were going to be up against it. We probably didn't help ourselves, whether that was nerves going into the game, you don't know how young lads are going to react on the big day but they seemed to get a start on us.

"We couldn't really get up to their pace, young Darragh McBrien was excellent, Love as well. They were massive parts of their game and we had our fastest men on them as well.

"They seemed to have fluidity going forward, more pace as well and caused us serious problems."

He added: "When we brought it back to three, we needed the next couple of scores. We probably at that stage missed a couple whereas St Michael's were clinical and hitting everything.

"They were excellent in their movement and their score-taking was top class. All their key men stepped up today."

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