MacRory glory awaits
The shadow-boxing that was the league has come to an end and the MacRory Cup begins in earnest this weekend when the quarter-finals are down for decision in the blue ribbon event in the Ulster colleges calendar.
Derry, Down and Tyrone are all doubly represented with Armagh and Monaghan also in the frame for what looks like one of the most open competitions in recent years.
The action gets under way in Pairc Esler on Friday night with an intriguing clash between St Colman’s Newry and St Patrick’s Armagh.
The Down lads lost only once during the league when Omagh beat them by the minimum margin and with Chris Clarke and Ross McGarry in their ranks they will start as favourites to make the semi-finals for the second year running.
Armagh are a side though who always save their best for this time of year and with All Ireland minor Andrew Murnin up front an upset could be on the cards.
Saturday sees two games down for decision with St Mary’s Magherafelt tussling with St Macartan’s, Monaghan in Moy at 11am.
That is followed by the meeting of holders St Patrick’s Dungannon and Abbey CBS at 2pm at the Athletic grounds.
Magherafelt showed good form prior to Christmas when reaching the McCormick Cup final and if they can pick up where they left off they should prove too strong for a Monaghan side that are perhaps over reliant on Daniel McKenna for scores.
The remaining quarter-final takes place at Derrytresk on Sunday afternoon and pits together title favourites Omagh CBS and perennial challengers St Pat’s Maghera.
MacRory Cup quarter-finals: St Colman’s v St Patrick’s, Armagh; St Mary’s, Magherafelt v St Macartan’s, Monaghan; St Patrick’s, Dungannon v Abbey CBS; Omagh CBS v St Patrick’s, Maghera.