Cor­ri­gan sin­gles out ma­jes­tic Ho­ran amid a valiant team ef­fort

Belfast Telegraph - School's Cup - - SCHOOLS’ CUP FINALS 2019 - 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.”

Sil­ver lin­ing: Bran­don Ho­ran lifts the tro­phy for St Michael’s

Tough scrap: St Michael’s Tom Keenan with Ruairi O Cin­neide

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