September 14, 2022


Twelve schools went into the Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup for the draw for the pre-Christmas group stages that start during the first week of November and will be completed by Wednesday 14th December.

The teams finishing in fourth place in each of the three sections will be eliminated, while a fourth team will also drop out before Christmas with a play-off between the third placed teams in Section B and C.

2019 champions St Patrick’s Downpatrick hosted the event yesterday and were drawn against Rathmore Grammar, St Louis Ballymena and Loreto Milford. Downpatrick reached the semi-finals last year before being ousted by Our Lady’s Castleblayney.
Head of PE in the school Darren Swail felt that there was a feel of familiarity about their group.

“We would have played against St Louis and Rathmore regularly through the year groups as well as at MacLarnon level and we actually beat Loreto Milford in the knock-out stages just before Covid.

“It is hard to say who will be the teams to beat at this level especially with no games two years ago because Covid wiped them out. Everyone will be watching each other’s results I would think and working out who are emerging as front runners,” he predicted.

The winner of the play-off game just before Christmas will face the team that tops Group A in the quarter-finals in the first week back to school in early January. The semi-finals are scheduled for the weekend of Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd January.

Oonagh Murtagh, Head of South Business Centre with Danske Bank helped Jimmy Smyth, Chairperson of Ulster Schools’ GAA make the various draws.

“We in Danske Bank are very pleased to continue our involvement with Ulster Schools’ GAA. The provincial Schools’ Council now caters for 125 schools and we are here in the Red High to launch the three signature competitions, the Danske Bank MacRory, MacLarnon and Mageean Cups as well as 59 other competitions in hurling and football which will involve thousands of young boys over the school year just started.

“We in Danske Bank know the benefits of sport in the community and we are pleased to get involved in the schools who operate at all levels in Ulster GAA”

Jimmy Smyth added:
“We came to the Red High here to launch our competitions as this school won their first ever Danske Bank Mageean Cup last December and we have witnessed the joy that has brought to the school and the area over the last nine months.

“There are now over 60 schools fielding in hurling and that is a tremendous growth over the past couple of decades. It comes as a result of hard work in the clubs and through initiatives like the Tain Óg Hurling Leagues that runs through the summer.

“We are pleased to support the schools to develop that interest in hurling and look forward to presenting cups to other first time winners at all levels.”

Ulster Schools’ GAA games will begin during the first week of October with U13.5 Hurling, with U16.5 Football hitting the road a week later.