Ross McGarry hails strong College links
Ross McGarry may be preparing to assist St Peter's Warrenpoint in their forthcoming All-Ireland Intermediate club football semi-final against Kerry and Munster champions Ardfert, but he has not forgotten the "invaluable role" his alma mater played in helping to fashion his career.
As the Ulster Colleges' Council unveils this year's Allstars football and hurling teams, McGarry reflects on the importance of sport at this level.
"I was very fortunate to win Hogan Cup, MacRory Cup and Rannafast Cup medals with St Colman's Newry and now when you see boys like Caolan Mooney, Donal O'Hare and the Johnston brothers Ryan and Jerome who also attended that school coming through with Down, you realise even more the invaluable role that colleges' football plays in nurturing of careers," states McGarry.
A final year Health and Leisure student at Stranmillis Training College, 23-year-old McGarry is keeping his fingers crossed that St Peter's Warrenpoint can scale a new peak by becoming All-Ireland champions and he is also hopeful that he can make a strong pitch for a place in the Down team.
In the meantime, he hails the fact that the Ulster Colleges' conveyor belt of talent remains at full throttle.
"When you look at the football and hurling teams, you can see that they are laced with talent and this shows the enormous contribution the colleges are making in terms of securing the future of the GAA," adds McGarry.
Ulster Colleges' secretary Seamus Woods stresses that the fact that the teams span a wide spectrum of schools across the province bears testimony to the excellent work being done on a voluntary basis by teachers.
"The input of all concerned in the ever-growing Ulster colleges' sector is tremendous," points out Woods.
Pearse Og McCrickard, a pupil at St Colman's College, Newry, has created his own little bit of history by earning selection on both the football and hurling teams.
Ulster Colleges Football Allstars: C Mullan-Young; N Keenan (both St Mary's, Magherafelt), C McGuigan (Holy Trinity, Cookstown), C Callaghan (St Eunan's, Letterkenny); C Clarke (St Columban's, Kilkeel), C McManus (St Patrick's, Cavan), B Kerr (Our Lady's, Castleblayney); J Og Burns (St Paul's, Bessbrook),T Galligan (St Patrick's Cavan); C Small (St Mary's Magherafelt), B McGinn (Our Lady's, Castleblayney), P Og McCrickard (St Colman's, Newry); L Brennan (St Michael's Enniskillen), E McGarrity (St Ciaran's, Ballygawley), C McLernon (Holy Trinity, Cookstown).
Ulster Colleges Hurling Allstars: C Butler (Cross and Passion, Ballycastle); P J Davidson (St Patrick's, Downpatrick), D Nugent (De La Salle, Belfast), H P Hamill (St Killian's, Garron Tower); A Fox (St Patrick's GS, Armagh), G Walsh (St Mary's CBS Belfast), E McGill (St Patrick's, Maghera); T Butler (Cross and Passion, Ballycastle), R Delargy (St Killian's, Graron Tower); O McManus (St Patrick's, Downpatrick), K Molloy (St Louis, Ballymena), P Og McCrickard (St Colman's, Newry); C Carney (St Aidan's, Cootehill), C McNaughton (St Killian's Garron Tower), D Rocks (St Marys CBS Belfast).