Sarsfields suffer defeat by a goal

A goal separated Sarsfields of Galway and Slaughtneil of Derry, 1-10 to 0-11, at the end of an absorbing AIB All-Ireland Camogie Senior Club Championship final at Croke Park last weekend.

Few would begrudge a first success for a Derry side, but it was heartbreaking for Galway who have missed out for a fifth successive occasion.

The Slaughtneil club had huge momentum coming into this contest - the footballers also in an All-Ireland final on St Patrick’s Day, and joint manager Thomas Cassidy having passed away just before the drawn Ulster final. His three daughters, captain Aoife, Brona and Eilís played two days after burying their father.

Sarsfields' four McGrath sisters also played a prominent part for their side, managed by father Michael. After the Derry side started well with points from Graham and Dougan, Sarsfields settled and took the lead through four Niamh McGrath frees.

Orlaith McGrath slotted two excellent points on the run, but Dougan landed a pair of massive frees as Galway led 0-7 to 0-6 at the break.

The vital goal came five minutes into the second half when Éilis Ní Chaiside showed tremendous vision to hit a reverse pass off the sod while running away from goal, back towards Kelly and the corner-forward made no mistake.

Hopper McGrath’s crew, however, dug deep and the switch of 16-year-old Siobhán McGrath to the half-forward line had a significant impact as she flourished in the space and shot three points.

The Galwegians drew level, but crucially they could not edge ahead despite having the upper hand as Slaughtneil’s defence stood firm, while at the other end Erica Leslie and Laura Ward were equally unyielding. However Dougan restored Slaughtneil’s lead in the 59th minute before Eilís Ní Chaiside had the last say.

SARSFIELDS : Y Lyons, R Murphy, L Ward, A Spellman, T Kenny, C McGrath, E Leslie, N McGrath, K Gallagher, S Spellman, O McGrath, K Donohue, S Cannon, M Cooney, S McGrath.

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