Heartbreak once again for Sarsfields as Slaughtneil produced a commanding second-half performance to ensure they retained the AIB All-Ireland Senior Championship title at St Tiernach’s Park by 2-11 to 1-9.
Denying Sarsfields for a second consecutive season, it was the Galway side's sixth defeat in a row for at the final hurdle.
Sarsfields were the more threatening in the opening half, but it was level 1-5 apiece at the break. The champions hit the front in the 42nd minute, and this was the first of three events in as many minutes that turned the game. Sarsfields' talisman Niamh McGrath lost her ongoing battle with a leg injury that clearly hampered her contribution immediately and was withdrawn. This was a monumental blow. And then, right on the three-quarter mark, Louise Dougan rifled an unstoppable shot to the roof of the Sarsfields' net from a penalty after Shannon Graham was hauled down by Erica Leslie.
When Hannon gave them a four-point advantage, the Derry girls were able to protect the lead by dropping deep and denying the opposition danger women the space they needed to thrive.
Rachel Murray did launch a brilliant point on the run and Éilís Ni Chaiside made a good stop from an attempt at goal by Cooney from a free in injury time, but Slaughtneil were not going to leave this slip.
SCORERS FOR SARSFIELDS: S Cannon 1-1; S McGrath 0-3(fs ); N McGrath 0-2(1f ); O McGrath, R Murray, M Cooney (f ) 0-1 each.
SARSFIELDS: Y Lyons, R Murphy, L Ward, A Spellman, T Kenny, C McGrath, E Leslie, K Gallagher, N McGrath, M Cooney, O McGrath, S Spellman, S Cannon, S McGrath, R Murray. Sub: K Donohue for N McGrath inj (40 ), E Larkin for Leslie inj (60+4 )