That was the venue in the autumn of 1923 when Fr P McGouran (St Malachy’s Beflast), Fr H Finnegan (St Macartan’s Monaghan) and Fr Tom Rafferty (St Patrick’s Armagh) came together to set out rules and fixtures for the first MacRory Cup season.

The last 100 years has seen the number of units involved in schools’ GAA increase significantly and now a total of 125 schools are under the umbrella of Ulster Schools’ GAA Council who organise 62 competitions through the school year.

The draws took place yesterday for the three most senior competitions, the Danske Bank MacRory and MacLarnon Cups in football and the Mageean Cup in hurling.

The group games in both the MacRory and MacLarnon Cups take place during November with the knock-out stages filtering the contenders down to two each for the MacLarnon final on Friday 9th February and the 100th MacRory final on February 11th.

The group stages for the Mageean Cup run through October with the top team in each group going straight into the semi-finals. The other four teams go into the quarter-finals in early November with the final scheduled for Friday 8th November in the Dub.

Oonagh Murtagh, Head of South Business Centre at Danske Bank, helped schools’ chairman Jimmy Smyth make the draws for the big competitions.

“At Danske Bank, we are passionate about helping our society thrive, and one way we do this is through our sponsorship of sports across the country. Supporting the Ulster Schools’ GAA competition is a central part of that support for local communities, alongside our other strong youth partnerships with Schools’ Cup Rugby and the Northern Ireland Schools Football Association and our sponsorship of the NI Football Men’s and Women’s Leagues.

“Over the many years of our sponsorship, we’ve seen the competition in schools across the country grow from strength to strength. We’ve seen new schools entering and opening up the opportunity to play for their pupils, we’ve seen developing skills on and off the pitch and most importantly, the camaraderie between teams in the heat of the contest. It’s also fantastic to see more and more players excel in their schools and clubs, and then move on to represent their counties.

“We’re looking forward to the year ahead – with some highlights being revealing of the 2023-24 Hurling and Football All Stars, as well as the big finals for the MacLarnon, MacRory and Mageean Cups throughout the season. From everyone at Danske Bank, we wish all players the best of luck and hope that they enjoy this year’s tournament as much as we do.”

Danske Bank MacRory Cup groups

Group A

  • Abbey CBS Newry
  • St Patrick’s Armagh
  • St Macartan’s Monaghan
  • St Patrick’s Maghera

Group B

  • St Colman’s Newry
  • St Michael’s Enniskillen
  • St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon
  • St Mary’s Magherafelt

Group C

  • St Joseph’s Donaghmore
  • HTC Cookstown
  • Our Lady’s Castleblayney
  • St Patrick’s Cavan

Group D

  • St Ronan’s Lurgan
  • Patrician Carrickmacross
  • St Paul’s Bessbrook
  • Omagh CBS

Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup

Group A

  • Our Lady & St Patrick’s Knock
  • SRC Newry
  • Aquinas Belfast
  • St Mary’s CBS Belfast

Group B

  • St Pius X Magherafelt
  • St Louis Ballymena
  • Rathmore Grammar
  • St Patrick’s Downpatrick

Group C

  • St Eunan’s Letterkenny
  • Dean Mag Uirc Carrickmore
  • Abbey VS Donegal
  • Loreto CS Milford

Danske Bank Mageean Cup

Group A

  • St Killian’s Garron Tower
  • St Mary’s CBS Belfast
  • St Patrick’s Maghera

Group B

  • St Louis’ Ballymena
  • Cross & Passion Ballycastle
  • Our Lady & St Patrick’s Knock