Something has to give in MacRory Cup clash between St Ronan’s and Abbey CBS

October 28, 2016

Danske Bank MacRory Cup: St Paul’s, Bessbrook v St Macartan’s, Monaghan (Friday, Silverbridge, 1.30pm); Patrician, Carrickmacross v Omagh CBS (Friday, Pearse Óg, Armagh, 2pm); St Ronan’s, Lurgan v Abbey CBS (Friday, St Paul’s, Lurgan, 6pm)

SOMETHING has to give in St Paul’s, Lurgan on Friday as both local school St Ronan’s and Abbey CBS have clocked up two wins from two starts to date – and both were comfortable enough in achieving those wins.

Of the two, Abbey are perhaps the bigger surprise – a comfortable opening round win over St Patrick’s Academy followed by a 3-13 to 2-8 win over a St Macartan’s, Monaghan side that was supposed to make some ripples in the MacRory this season.

The latter win was less emphatic than the scoreline suggests as Niall Courtney scored an injury time goal and Conor Cox and Aodhan McEvoy quickly added points. Nevertheless, they led each game from the start and were good value for their wins.

By contrast, St Ronan’s seem to be a second half team as they trailed both St Paul’s Bessbrook and the Academy at the break, before getting things impressively together during the second half-hour.

Barry McCambridge is a towering presence in defence and the attack has coped very well with the loss of ace free-taker Aodhan McConville, who broke his collar bone in the opening half of the first game.

There was not much between the schools when they met in last year’s league around the same stage. St Ronan’s won a low-scoring game by a point. It might be high-scoring this year, but the margin to either side might still be just a point.

The earlier game in this section (1.30pm) in Silverbridge features two teams who have still to get off the mark, suffering defeat in their opening game.

Last year’s beaten finalists St Paul’s Bessbrook looked to have made a decent start, leading St Ronan’s 0-5 to 0-3 at the break, but then were caught by 2-3 in eight minutes and slumped to defeat.

St Macartan’s were not too far off Abbey’s pace in their only outing, but there may be a little anxiety from the Rannafast Cup winners of two seasons ago following that defeat. Despite the presence of Shea and Declan Loye, Liam Kerr, and Niall McGuinness, the Sem should be able to regroup and pick up the points here.

The middle game on Friday afternoon could also be very interesting – Patrician High, Carrickmacross against Omagh CBS in Pearse Óg, Armagh (2pm). Patrician are in their first season of MacRory Cup football, but a red card in each of their opening two games, while perhaps not costing them league points, certainly leaves them a bit easier to break down.

However, score-lines of 2-11 and 1-11 certainly indicate potential but, on Friday, they are up against an Omagh CBS side that has made a great start with two straight wins, including a comfortable win over a St Colman’s side that hit Carrick with 20 points last Saturday.

It will take a big performance from Carrick to prevent a third win on the trot for Omagh.