MacRory Cup

MacRory Cup

MacRory Cup

The MacRory Cup is the most coveted prize in Ulster Schools, and is second only to the Ulster Senior Football Inter-county Championship in terms of history, prestige, standards, and public acclaim.

The Final is played each year on 17th March, and attracts an attendance in the region of 5,000 as well as a substantial TV audience. The earlier rounds of the competition also attracts significant numbers from within the school communities and from the wider sporting public.

The origins of the MacRory Cup date back to 1917 when the Headteachers of the two leading diocesan boarding schools, St Patrick’s Armagh and St Macartan’s Monaghan, agreed to hold an annual Gaelic match between their schools. They were soon joined by St Patrick’s Cavan, St Columb’s Derry, St Malachy’s Belfast, and St Colman’s Newry, all also diocesan boarding schools, and Dr MacRory, Bishop of Down and Connor (and later Cardinal in Armagh), presented a trophy for this annual competition.


We now live in an era in which 2nd Level education is available to all, but in the very different educational landscape of the 1920’s it was accessible only to those who attended these boarding schools. Participation in the MacRory Cup, therefore, in its early years was confined to those few schools. St Patrick’s Armagh were the first winners in 1923, and dominated the competition in its early years. First time victories by other challengers were recorded by St Malachy’s in 1929, followed by St Macartan’s (1930), St Patrick’s Cavan (1935), and St Colman’s (1949).

The 1930’s was notable for the affiliation of a number of Christian Brothers’ schools. These were ‘day schools’ (i.e. non boarding schools) which catered mainly for boys from humble backgrounds, but they did not yet have the prowess to compete with the established diocesan colleges, as was confirmed by comprehensive defeats for Monaghan CBS (1935), and Abbey CBS (1944 and 1947).

1954 was a watershed year in that the triumph of Abbey CBS after a replay over St Patrick’s Cavan was the first MacRory Cup win by a ‘day school’; the Abbey repeated this feat in 1959 and 1964, but no other day school made the breakthrough until St Mary’s CBS in 1971; next came Omagh CBS in 1974.

1976 marks another significant landmark in the history of the competition although that particular Final ended in defeat for St Patrick’s Maghera. It ushered in an extraordinary sequence of 14 Final appearances by Maghera in the following 15 years, 8 of which were won, including 4 consecutive victories 1982-85. Those 15 years witnessed a legendary rivalry between Maghera and St Colman’s Newry when they faced one another in 10 Finals, including replays. These included the iconic 1989 Final, won by Maghera on the scoreline 4-10 to 4-9, a game which is widely and rightly regarded as one of the greatest ever played at any level in Ulster. Those were the days when the blanket defence would have been regarded as a distasteful, unchivalrous, and unthinkable option.


Another feature of that particular era was a remarkable personal achievement which is unlikely to be repeated. Dermot McNicholl, currently a coach in Maghera, played in 5 consecutive Finals 1980-84, winning 4 medals, and captaining the team to 2 of those victories. The only other player to captain 2 winning MacRory Cup teams was Sean Blaney, St Colman’s Newry (1949-50); coincidentally, his son, Greg, captained St Colman’s to the 1981 title.

The 1990’s marked the arrival of St Patrick’s Dungannon and St Michael’s Enniskillen at centre stage, and accelerated change in the educational domain with the disappearance of the remaining boarding departments in schools, and an equalisation in standards across a greater range of schools.


The new millennium produced a victory in 2000 for the original kingpins, St Patrick’s Armagh, their first victory since 1953, and the next decade was marked by the emergence and appearance of Omagh CBS in 7 Finals.

The MacRory Cup, first donated by Bishop MacRory in 1923, is now fiercely contested by 10 schools annually, and a feature of each successive year is the number of genuine contenders and the unpredictability of the outcome. That original trophy was replaced in 1962, and that trophy, in turn, was retired and donated to the O’Fiaich Library in February 2012. A magnificent replacement trophy has been donated to Ulster Colleges by Cardinal Brady, thereby perpetuating the historic link between the Archdiocese of Armagh and this unique competition. The trophy won in March 2012 by St Michael’s Enniskillen is therefore the 3rd Cup to bear the name of the original visionary, Cardinal MacRory.


MacRory Cup Roll of Honour

* Signifies draw and replay
** Both schools shared the MacRory Cup – replay cancelled due to foot and mouth.

2020 St. Colman’s, Newry / St. Patrick’s, Maghera (Shared due to Covid 19)

2019 St Michael’s Enniskillen 0-16 Omagh CBS 2-06 Armagh

2018 St Ronan’s, Lurgan 1-9 V St. Mary’s, Magherafelt 1-7 Armagh

2017 St St Mary’s Magherafelt 0-19 St Colman’s Newry 0-13 Armagh

2016 St Pat’s College, Maghera 5-7 St Paul’s HS, Bessbrook 1-9 Armagh

2015 St Pat’s College, Cavan 2-12 St Pat’s Academy, Dungannon 0-8 Armagh

2014 St Pat’s College Maghera 1-12 Omagh CBS 1-8 Armagh

2013 St Pat’s College Maghera 2-5 St Paul’s HS Bessbrook 0-10 Armagh

2012 St Michael’s Enniskillen 0-9 St Pat’s Academy Maghera 1-4 Armagh

2011 St Colman’s Newry 1-14 St Pat’s Academy, D’gannon 1-8 Armagh

2010 St Colman’s Newry 1-14 Omagh CBS 1-8 Casement Park

2009 Omagh CBS 1-9 St Patrick’s Dungannon 2-7 Omagh

2008 St Patrick’s Dungannon 0-13 St Michael’s Enniskillen 1-9 Omagh

2007 Omagh CBS 0-10 St Macartan’s Monaghan 1-6 Casement Park

2006 Abbey CBS 2-4 St Louis Kilkeel 0-9 Casement Park

2005* Omagh CBS 2-7 St Louis Kilkeel 0-13|Omagh CBS 2-9 St Louis Kilkeel 0-11 Casement Park

2004 St Patrick’s Dungannon 0-8 St Macartan’s Monaghan 0-6 Casement Park

2003 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-9 St Mary’s Magherafelt 1-4 Casement Park

2002 St Michael’s Enniskillen 1-12 Omagh CBS 1-5 Casement Park

2001** Omagh CBS 2-8 St Michael’s Enniskillen 1-11| Casement Park

2000 St Patrick’s Armagh 3-6 St Michael’s Enniskillen 1-9 Casement Park

1999 St Michael’s Enniskillen 4-11 St Colman’s Newry 0-12 Casement Park

1998 St Colman’s Newry 2-14 St Patrick’s Maghera 2-7 Casement Park

1997 St Patrick’s Dungannon 2-9 St Patrick’s Armagh 1-10 Casement Park

1996 St Patrick’s Maghera 0-12 St Mary’s Magherafelt 1-6 Coalisland

1995 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-14 St Colman’s Newry 0-5 Clones

1994 St Patrick’s Maghera 0-12 St Patrick’s Armagh 0-8 Armagh

1993 St Colman’s Newry 0-10 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-5 Coalisland

1992 St Michael’s Enniskillen 1-8 St Patrick’s Dungannon 0-9 Coalisland

1991 St Patrick’s Dungannon 2-7 St Colman’s Newry 1-9 Coalisland

1990* St Patrick’s Maghera 0-6 St Colman’s Newry 0-6 | St Patrick’s Maghera 3-6 St Colman’s Newry 1-5

1989 St Patrick’s Maghera 4-10 St Colman’s Newry 4-9 Coalisland

1988* St Colman’s Newry 0-6 St Patrick’s Maghera 0-6|St Colman’s Newry 2-7 St Patrick’s Maghera 2-7|St Colman’s Newry 3-5 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-9 Dungannon

1987 Abbey CBS Newry 2-6 St Colman’s Newry 0-8 Lurgan

1986 St Mary’s CBS Belfast 1-8 St Patrick’s Maghera 0-6 Omagh

1985 St Patrick’s Maghera 2-9 St Michael’s Lurgan 1-1 Omagh

1984 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-9 St Mary’s CBS Belfast 0-6 Casement Park

1983 St Patrick’s Maghera 2-10 Abbey CBS Newry 0-8 Casement Park

1982 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-7 Abbey CBS Newry 1-6 Casement Park

1981 St Colman’s Newry 1-3 St Patrick’s Maghera 0-5 Casement Park

1980 St Patrick’s Maghera 3-9 Abbey CBS Newry 3-6 Casement Park

1979 St Colman’s Newry 0-7 St Patrick’s Maghera 0-5 Casement Park

1978 St Colman’s Newry 1-10 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-3 Casement Park

1977 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-7 Abbey CBS Newry 0-8 Casement Park

1976 St Colman’s Newry 1-4 St Patrick’s Maghera 0-4 Dungannon

1975 St Colman’s Newry 2-7 St Patrick’s Cavan 1-8 Omagh

1974* Omagh CBS 0-6 St Michael’s Enniskillen 0-6|Omagh CBS 1-11 St Michael’s Enniskillen 0-12

1973 St Michael’s Enniskillen 1-10 Omagh CBS 0-10 Dungannon

1972 St Patrick’s Cavan 1-10 Abbey CBS Newry 2-5 Dundalk

1971 St Mary’s CBS Belfast 1-11 Abbey CBS Newry 1-7 Lurgan

1970 St Malachy’s Belfast 2-6 St Michael’s Enniskillen 0-6 Coalisland

1969 St Colman’s Newry 1-9 St Michael’s Enniskillen 1-6 Dungannon

1968 St Colman’s Newry 6-4 St Michael’s Enniskillen 1-3 Dungannon

1967 St Colman’s Newry 2-10 St Patrick’s Armagh 1-4 Dundalk

1966 St Columb’s Derry 3-5 St Patrick’s Downpatrick 3-3 Dungannon

1965 St Columb’s Derry 1-3 St Michael’s Enniskillen 0-4 Dungannon

1964 Abbey CBS Newry 3-8 St Patrick’s Cavan 2-5 Carrickmacross

1963 St Colman’s Newry 2-8 St Patrick’s Cavan 0-2 Ballybay

1962 St Patrick’s Cavan 2-11 Abbey CBS Newry 2-7 Ballybay

1961 St Patrick’s Cavan 1-13 St Eunan’s Letterkenny 0-5 Irvinestown

1960 St Colman’s Newry 2-6 St Patrick’s Cavan 0-4 Castleblaney

1959 Abbey CBS Newry 3-7 St Eunan’s Letterkenny 1-3 Omagh CBS

1958 St Colman’s Newry 4-11 St Patrick’s Cavan 1-1 Castleblaney

1957 St Colman’s Newry 0-8 St Patrick’s Armagh 1-2 Lurgan

1956 St Macartan’s Monaghan 2-7 St Eunan’s Letterkenny 2-6 Omagh CBS

1955 St Patrick’s Cavan 2-8 St Malachy’s Belfast 0-2 Armagh

1954* Abbey CBS Newry 0-5 St Patrick’s Cavan 1-3|Abbey CBS Newry 0-11 St Patrick’s Cavan 1-5

1953 St Patrick’s Armagh 2-10 St Macartan’s Monaghan 1-6 Ballybay

1952 St Macartan’s Monaghan 2-8 St Patrick’s Armagh 1-4 Ballybay

1951 St Patrick’s Cavan 1-11 St Patrick’s Armagh 2-2 Ballybay

1950 St Colman’s Newry 2-11 St Patrick’s Armagh 3-7 Lurgan

1949 St Colman’s Newry 5-11 St Malachy’s Belfast 0-7 Lurgan

1948 St Patrick’s Cavan 7-8 St Malachy’s Belfast 1-7 Breffni Park

1947 St Patrick’s Armagh 5-11 Abbey CBS Newry 0-2 Newry

1946 St Patrick’s Armagh 4-9 St Mary’s Dundalk 0-3 Armagh

1945 St Patrick’s Armagh 4-9 St Colman’s Newry 0-12 Newry

1944 St Patrick’s Armagh 5-11 Abbey CBS Newry 0-2 Newry

1943 St Patrick’s Cavan 2-13 St Patrick’s Armagh 1-3 Armagh

1942 St Macartan’s Monaghan St Mary’s Dundalk Monaghan

1941 St Mary’s Dundalk 7-6 St Patrick’s Cavan 3-5 Dundalk

1940* St Macartan’s Monaghan 3-5 St Mary’s Dundalk 2-5 Inniskeen

1939 St Patrick’s Cavan 2-7 St Mary’s Dundalk 1-1 Breffni Park

1938 St Mary’s Dundalk 4-6 St Patrick’s Armagh 0-4 Dundalk

1937 St Patrick’s Cavan 2-6 St Mary’s Dundalk 1-6 Breffni Park

1936 St Patrick’s Cavan 3-3 St Patrick’s Armagh 1-7 Monaghan

1935 St Patrick’s Cavan 7-11 Monaghan CBS 0-0 Breffni Park

Until 1935 the MacRory Cup was played on a league basis with the league winners claiming the title.

1923 – 1934

1934 St Macartan’s Monaghan
1933 St Macartan’s Monaghan
1932 St Macartan’s Monaghan
1931 St Patrick’s Armagh
1930 St Macartan’s Monaghan
1929 St Malachy’s Belfast
1928 St Patrick’s Armagh
1927 St Patrick’s Armagh
1926 St Patrick’s Armagh
1925 St Patrick’s Armagh; St Macartan’s Monaghan; St Malachy’s Belfast shared trophy
1924 St Patrick’s Armagh
1923 St Patrick’s Armagh