WE look at the most successful schools in the history of the MacRory Cup
St Colman’s, Newry (20 titles)
NOT only have St Colman’s won the most MacRory Cup titles, but they’ve also excelled at All-Ireland level, winning the Hogan Cup eight times (only St Jarlath’s Tuam have won more). Known as a nursery for Gaelic Footballs for both the senior men’s team of both Down and Armagh, many legends of the game have passed through the corridors of the Newry school, including Greg Blaney and James McCartan. It’s also worth noting that Michael Cusack, one of the founders of the GAA, taught English and Maths in St Colman’s before going on to teach in Dublin.
St Patrick’s, Maghera (16 titles)
IT won’t come to a surprise to our readership that St Patrick’s Maghera feature prominently in this list. The school has produced 16 MacRory Cup winning teams since it first entered the competition in the mid-70s (there’s a story there in itself as unlike most of the other schools on this list, St Patrick’s isn’t a grammar school). 1993 All-Ireland winners Anthony Tohill and Henry Downey won MacRory Cup titles at the school, and in more recent times they were forced to share the title with St Colman’s as the final was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid outbreak.
St Patrick’s, Armagh (14 titles)
ST Patrick’s they dominated the tournament all the way back in the 1920s, winning seven titles in as many years between 1923 and 1929. They bridged a gap of 43 years when they won their most recent title back in the millennium year.
They had some incredible players in their ranks that year, none more so than Sean Cavanagh and Ronan Clarke, and they made it all the way to the Hogan Cup final where they lost narrowly to St Patrick’s Navan, who were managed by Meath legend Colm O’Rourke. That was the last time they reached the final but they’ve made the semi-finals a few times in the last decade.
St Patrick’s, Cavan (12 titles)
THE historic footballing town of Cavan is home to St Patrick’s College, who have a long and proud record in the MacRory Cup. They regularly dined at the top table from the thirties right through to the early sixties, and many former Cavan legends played for the school, including former All-Ireland winning captain John Joe O’Reilly. Haven’t fared quite so well in most recent times though they produced an outstanding display in the 2015 decider to get the better of St Patrick’s Dungannon.
St Macartan’s College, Monaghan (9 titles)
BASED in Monaghan town, St Macartan’s also pocketed the majority of their MacRory titles a fairly long time ago. Won their last title all the way back in 1956, but it’d be remiss not to mention the fact they reached the finals of the competition in 2004 and 2007. On both occasions they weren’t far away from ending their drought – they were beaten by two points by Dungannon in 2004 and they were left heartbroken by a spectacular late free from Killyclogher footballer Simon O’Neill in a one-point defeat to Omagh CBS three years later.
St Michael’s,Enniskillen (7 titles)
FERMANAGH football and St Michael’s Enniskillen go hand-in-hand. Their legendary teacher, Dominic Corrigan, fulfilled a life-long ambition when he led the school to a historic Hogan Cup success three years ago, and no-one can say it wasn’t deserved as they’ve contributed massively to school’s football over the last 50 years. Won their first title in 1973 and went through a particularly fruitful spell at the turn of the millenium, albeit they won the 2001 title by default when Omagh CBS weren’t permitted to field in a final replay due to foot and mouth.
Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School, Newry (5 titles)
ABBEY CBS have appeared in an impressive 14 MacRory Cup finals, winning five of them. Their last victory was in 2006, when they snatched victory against St Louis Kilkeel with a late goal from half-back Ciaran Coffey. Players on that team who went on to enjoy stellar intercounty careers included recent Down retiree Kevin McKernan and Armagh’s Kevin Dyas. In the early days, they suffered comprehensive defeats in the 1944 and 1947 finals but 1954 proved to be a watershed year for the school as they won their first title with victory over St Patrick’s Cavan.
St Patrick’s Dungannon (5 titles)
DUNGANNON’S first success on the MacRory Cup front came against a star-studded St. Colman’s Newry in 1991 on a scoreline of 2–7 to 1–9 (a hugely unexpected result at the time). They’ve added four more titles in the meantime, including back-to-back successes in 2008 and 2009. Their most well-known footballer from that era was current Tyrone shot-stopper Niall Morgan. Notably, they have also won the Hogan Cup on two occasions, in 1997 and 2008.
Omagh CBS (4 titles)
The main Grammar School for boys in the mid-Tyrone area, Omagh have produced four MacRory Cup winning teams, albeit they had to share the title in 2001 with St Michael’s Enniskillen. Their crowning achievement was a MacRory and Hogan Cup double in the 20078 season. They squeezed past St Macartan’s by a point in the MacRory Cup final and produced a super display as they eased to victory against Tralee CBS in an All-Ireland showdown.