Murray aiming to guarantee Colman's are put back on MacRory map
THE hallowed corridors of St Colman's College, Newry are awash with reminders of the school's unrivalled MacRory Cup history.
But after 11 years away from the Ulster colleges football St Patrick's Day showpiece, manager Cathal Murray is now determined to put the Down school back on the MacRory Cup map.
Their last final was in 1999, while their last win was back in 1998, but as they face Tyrone kingpins Omagh CBS in the grand finale at Casement Park today (1.15), Murray wants to give his students a more tangible badge of honour than the framed photos nailed to the walls within the Newry school.
"The lads see all of the winning teams on the walls of the school and see a lot of the great teams that played all the way back to the first winners in 1949, so they see those pictures and aspire to be up there some day.
"But none of these lads have ever had the experience of the big day in Casement Park on Paddy's Day so hopefully we can make the most of it and give these lads something else to aspire to," said the former Down player.
Colman's may have more MacRory Cup wins than any other school (17) but Omagh CBS have been one of the most successful teams in recent history, winning in 2007 and 2005 and reaching the final last year.
After Noel Donnelly and Ciaran McBride's side steamrolled to the final unbeaten, Murray knows how difficult it will be to wrest away Tyrone's recent dominance of Ulster's most prestigious colleges competition and revive St Colmans' great history.
"A serious amount of work has gone into coaching the Tyrone schools teams in recent years and it's a case of us playing catch-up on the Tyrone model now.
"They've beaten us already this year so we know we have to be at our best to get anything from the game. We know we have a huge challenge ahead of us, not only in this final, but also in the future."
Verdict: Omagh CBS