St. Michael’s coach Dom Corrigan is ready for another MacRory Cup campaign and he states that the goal at this stage of the season is the same as it always is which is first and foremost to reach the quarter-final stage and take it from there.

“We would always be ambitious enough to always be looking beyond Christmas and hitting a quarter final, that’s are target and once you get to a quarter-final it takes on a life of its own and anything can happen. We were pleased last year, we beat Cavan to get through to a quarter final and a lot of the current squad were playing in that so I feel the experience of last year of getting to that knock out stages will benefit them hugely going forward this year,” he said.

This year’s squad has a lot of last year’s Rannafast Cup squad who lost to St Pat’s Cavan in the final while they also have a strong core of players in the upper age group for the competition with Corrigan happy with the blend of the squad.

“There is a huge chunk of that Rannafast group who now form the basis of the MacRory Cup squad this year. On top of that though you then have the fellas at the top of the age group, the likes of our captain Brandon Horan who had a massive campaign for us last year and our two vice captains Conor Love and Luke Flanagan so there is a good sprinkling of experienced players to go along with the quality group that has come through from the Rannafast,” he explained.

St. Michael’s begin their campaign with a meeting with St. Colman’s Newry next Wednesday in Dunmoyle and with an altered format this year, Corrigan acknowledges that they can afford little in the way of slip ups.

“There are four groups of four, the top two go through, the third team go into a play off and the fourth team are eliminated.

“Our group has St Colman’s Newry, Abbey CBS and St. Pat’s Dungannon so there is little room for error.

“We begin with St Colman’s who are one of the favourites for the competition this year so that is going to be a big challenge in Dunmoyle next Wednesday,” he admitted.

Two points though are the aim for Dom and his squad in that opening encounter.

“The boys are very determined to go out and win every game that they play in. St Colman’s are our first challenge and it would be a brilliant start for us if we could go out and get two points on the board from that first game,” he added.

And the experienced St. Michael’s coach, who will lead Killyclogher into the Tyrone Senior Championship final this Sunday against Coalisland, is happy with how things have been going so far in preparation for the MacRory Cup.

We have had a couple of matches already, we lost to St Pat’s Armagh and we beat Letterkenny.

“We have a had a good response from the lads, they are a very keen and enthusiastic bunch. We had trials early on with maybe 70 or 80 players involved and we now have a working panel of 34 players and they are really embracing the challenge that’s ahead and looking forward to it.”

Indeed, he too is looking forward to another MacRory Cup campaign.

“It is a special competition, it is a new group and it is a new challenge again.

“It is great when you have a group of players who are really ambitious, fierce committed and determined to do well.

My job then is to maximise the group, get the best out of them and let’s see where that takes us.

“Certainly though we are not setting our sights low, we are aiming high and our first target is to get out of the group and take it from there,” he concluded.