DURING last week’s media event, Ruairi McHugh got his hands on the famous MacRory Cup, but not for as long as he would have liked.
Holy Trinity captain Cookstown swapped the trophy with St Mary’s Magherafelt skipper Eoin McEvoy as they posed for photos and interviews.
The two captains will begin the battle on Sunday afternoon and only one will win the MacRory Cup crown.
“It would mean everything to the school, it’s what the school is all about,” said Coalisland club member Na Fianna McHugh.
“To represent the school, it would be amazing to get your hands on it. It was nice to have it, for the 30 seconds I had it, so it would be amazing to get my hands on it properly.
Sunday’s centerpiece is a “massive day” for everyone involved according to McHugh, as he leads his team to their first-ever MacRory Cup final.
Cookstown college did it the hard way, knocking out Abbey CBS and St Pat’s, Maghera en route to the decider.
They now face another Derry opponent, Magherafelt, who have only won the title once in their history, in 2017.
Sunday will be a historic day for whoever emerges victorious, and McHugh hopes his team will have enough to cross the line.
“Leading the guys, we’ve made history so far, but the job isn’t done yet. We plan to go out and get our hands on the MacRory Cup.
“It’s a huge day, a huge opportunity. There’s a big buzz, we can’t wait to get out there and start playing and two weeks will be a huge day, but we’ll be able to handle that and perform.
Breaking through the two huge hurdles in the quarter-finals and semi-finals helped create great buzz and a lot of excitement throughout the school.
Holy Trinity have carried the weight of the underdog tag with them throughout the competition so far, but they haven’t let it affect their performance on the court.
“We came in as heavy underdogs (against Abbey CBS and St Pat’s Maghera) and came out on the bright side. There’s a big buzz, everyone’s asking about it. The teachers, everyone, the toddlers in the school look up to you, it’s amazing.
McHugh, who was also the vice-captain of the Tyrone 2021 minor team, points to their “incredible” management duo of Peter Canavan and John McKeever.
The pair will also link up at club level for the coming season as they captain McKeever’s own Portglenone.
Canavan, a two-time All-Ireland winner and eight-time Allstar with Tyrone, is hoping to inspire his team from the touchline.
“He has already done everything, him and John, two great managers. They both know football like the back of their hand, so it’s amazing to have them on our side.