We are proud to be hosting the MacRory Cup Semi-Final today and would like to wish both St Mary’s and St Pat’s the best of luck in the day ahead.
In particular we would like to wish James Diamond, Kealin Friel, Conleth McShane, Cathal McErlean and Cormac McLarnon a fantastic and unforgettable day here on their own pitch.
Our club has a long history with sending players to play in the latter stages of this competition beginning when Tommy Gribben lined out for St Pat’s Armagh Hogan winning team in 1946, scoring 1-1 in the MacRory final; the Armagh MacRory champions in 1947, scoring 2-3 in that final, and for St Malachy’s Belfast in the 1948 MacRory Cup final.
In 1965 Tom Quinn and Chris Brown lined out in the MacRory final for St Columb’s Derry as they won the competition for the first time, the latter registering two points. St Columb’s went on to win the Hogan that year with Tom Quinn at left half back and Chris Brown at right half forward.
The following year Tom Quinn became the first Bellaghy man to captain a MacRory cup as St Columb’s retained their title, defeating St. Pat’s Downpatrick in the final, Tom scoring an important free on the day.
With the domination of the competition by St. Pat’s Maghera beginning in the late 70’s, Bellaghy trio Brendan Hendry, Colin Gribben and Paul McKernan all lined out for Maghera during those MacRory campaigns.
Damian Cassidy played in his first of four MacRory finals in 1982, defeating Abbey in the final and ending the campaign as top scorer. The following year he was joined on the team by Brendan Doherty, Danny Quinn and Rory Scullion, with Cassidy and Scullion scoring 2-8 between them as St. Pat’s retained their title.
In 1984 Cassidy and Quinn again donned the St Pat’s jersey as they defeated St. Mary’s C.B.S. to win their third MacRory in a row.
Maghera made it four-in-a-row the following year with Bellaghy man Danny Quinn as captain, scoring a point as they defeated Lurgan in the final. Brendan Doherty also featured again for Pat’s that year.
In 1988 John Quinn and Declan Cassidy featured for a Maghera team that contested the final against a McCartan inspired St Colman’s. The following year a team featuring Karl and John Diamond exacted revenge against the same team, and the brothers returned a year later to repeat the feat in 1990.
In 1993 their brothers Mark and Peter Diamond were on the St Pat’s team that lost out to St Colman’s. The following year Mark remained and was joined by his brother Paul Diamond, Gareth Doherty and David O’Neill on the side that conquered St Pat’s Armagh to lift the 1994 MacRory title.
Paul and Mark Diamond again joined David O’Neill in the Maghera side that took the title in 1995, after another battle against familiar foes Colman’s.
In 1996 St Pat’s faced St Mary’s, Magherafelt in a MacRory for the first time. Bellaghy players featuring that day included Paul Diamond and Niall Cassidy. Then, in 1997 the St Pat’s team that lined out to face St Colman’s (again) included Kevin and Fergal Doherty and Laurence Diamond.
Maghera and Magherafelt were to meet again in the 2003 final with Paul Donnelly, Dermot O’Hagan and Oisin Milne involved in the Pat’s team.
Dominic McFaul, Peter Cassidy and Ruairi McElwee all featured on the St Pat’s team that played Enniskillen in the 2012 final, returning the following year as winners of the 2013 final.
In 2017 Declan Cassidy became the third Bellaghy man to captain a team to a MacRory title as St Mary’s won their first ever MacRory defeating St Colman’s in the final.
With thanks to J.A. Walshe’s history of the MacRory Cup.
It is certain that I have made omissions above. All omissions and mistakes are mine, with apologies. I would be grateful for any additional names that I have missed.
K. Gribben (PRO – Bellaghy Wolfe Tones GAC)