Sarsfields v Loughgiel Shamrocks (Antrim)
Date: 17 Dec, 6:30pm
Venue: Croke Park
Ref: Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny)
FT: Sarsfields 2-14 Loughgiel Shamrocks 1-14
Player of the match: Niamh McGrath
Sarsfields are back to back All Ireland Champions after overcoming a strong challenge by Loughgiel Shamrocks.
By Sarah Gaughran, Galway Camogie PRO
Sarsfields were crowned back-to-back All Ireland Champions on Saturday evening when they overcame a tough challenge from Loughgiel Shamrocks from Antrim. Sarsfields had to dig deep and grind out the victory, something they have gained with their experience over the last 7 years playing at the top level of club camogie in Ireland.
Sarsfields got off to a dream start with Siobhán McGrath finding the back of the Loughgiel net after 40 seconds. Credit must go to Eimear Boyle in the Loughgiel Shamrocks net who denied the initial shot but McGrath got at the end of the rebound and made no mistake in sticking it in the back of the net. One of the young stars of the team, Caoimhe Kelly followed added a point to the Sarsfields tally two minutes later with McGrath adding a close range free after 5 minutes to leave them 5 points ahead after 5 minutes. Mary McKillen, Róisín McCormick and Lucia McNaughton helped in getting Loughgiel off the mark after 6 minutes but Niamh McGrath through a point from play and Siobhán through a free ensured Sarsfields maintained a 4-point lead heading into the 20th minute. Sarsfields were dealt a major blow on the 22nd minute when their centre half back, Maria Cooney went down on her ankle and was forced off due to the injury. It was clear that this blow rattled Sarsfields and Loughgiel took full advantage of the blow scoring 1-3 on the trot when Cooney went off. McCormick pointed a free on the 24 th minute while Antrim senior star, Caitrín Dobbin broke through for a goal for Loughgiel. Annie Lynn tagged along to more points to leave Loughgiel Shamrocks 2 points ahead, something that was hard to see happening after the fantastic start that Sarsfields got. Kelly and Klara Donohue settled the ship for Sarsfields before the break to leave the sides deadlocked at 1-6 a piece heading into the half time break.
McCormick gave Loughgiel their lead back inside the opening minute through a free, but Sarsfields went on one of their scoring sprees scoring 1-3 without reply. Siobhán McGrath and Shannon Corcoran added points from play on the 35 th and 36 th minutes while McGrath set up Rachel Murray on the 37th for their second major of the day. This goal was the difference between the teams at the end of the game. Niamh McGrath pointed a long range free 2 minutes later to leave them 2-9 to 1-7 ahead. Just like the 1 st half, Loughgiel took a strong hold of the game in the middle of the half scoring 0-5 without reply. Four McCormick frees and one from play from Dobbin meant that the sides were deadlocked with 8 minutes to play. Siobhán McGrath and McCormick exchanged frees on the 53 rd and 54 th minutes. With 5 minutes of normal time remaining, Sarsfields dug deep to try and grind out the victory. Points from Niamh McGrath, one from pay and a fantastic long range free, Siobhán McGrath, through a free, and substitute, Sarah Spellman meant that Sarsfields had a comfortable 4-point lead heading into injury time. McCormick did get her 9 th free of the day on the 62 nd minute but it was too little too late as Sarsfields ran out 3-point victors. It finished Sarsfield 2-14 Loughgiel Shamrocks 1-14.
Sarsfields have now won 3 of the last 4 All Ireland Senior Club titles. It has been a very successful and historic year for the club winning the Club All Ireland back in March, the league and championship titles in Galway and now they have added their second Club All Ireland Title in the same calendar year to their role of honour. This would have been the sweetest of them all for Sarsfields as they had to win without key players such as Orlaith McGrath, Erica Leisle and they also lost Maria Cooney early on in the game. It highlights the strength and dept and talent in their panel and it must be credited. Loughgiel Shamrocks deserve a lot of credit for contributing to a fantastic spectacle of camogie. They have worked very hard to get to this stage having lost 6 Ulster finals in a row to Slaughtneil. They have great talent in their panel and they will learn from the experience and come back stronger. Sarsfields can now enjoy the Christmas and it is safe to say they will have their eyes on doing the 3 in a row next year when they will have players like Orlaith and Erica back in their team.
Sarsfields: L Glynn; R Kelly, L Ward, K Gallagher; T Kenny, M Cooney, J Daly; C McGrath, N McGrath; K Donohoe, R Murray, C Kenny; S Corcoran, S McGrath, C Kelly. Subs: S Spellman for Cooney (inj 24); C McGrath for Kelly (62)’ C Cahalan for Corcoran (65).
Loughgiel Shamrocks: E Boyle; C Campbell, K Lynn, C McKillop; M Lynn, U McNaughton, S Devlin; A Boyle, L Mcaughton; C Laverty, M McKillen, A Connolly; C Dobbin, R McCormick, A Lynn. Subs: K McKillop for Connolly (45); C Boyle for Campbell (50); C Higgins for Laverty (62).
Sarsfields: S McGrath 1-5 (5fs); R Murray 1-0; C Kelly 0-2; N McGrath 0-3 (1f); K Donohoe, S Corcoran, S Spellman 0-1 each.
Loughgiel Shamrocks: R McCormick 0-9 (9 fs); C Dobbin 1-1; A Lynn 0-2; L McNaughton, M McKillen 0-1 each.
- McGrath’s charges hold their nerve to claim another All-Ireland title in thriller – Connacht Tribune
- Sarsfields edge club final to claim back-to-back titles – Galway Advertiser
- Glory Days – Tuam Herald
- Sarsfields claim back-to-back All-Ireland Senior Club Camogie titles with victory over Loughgiel at Croke Park – Irish Independent
- Sarsfields win All-Ireland Camogie Club Championship – Commentary and Reaction -Galway Bay FM
- Sarsfields battle to back-to-back All-Ireland crowns – RTE.ie
- Sarsfields overcome stern challenge from Loughgiel to claim third title in four years – The42.ie
- McGrath sisters to the fore again as Sarsfields retain senior club camogie title – Irish Times
AIB All Ireland Club Senior Final Preview
By Sarah Gaughran Galway Camogie PRO
Sarsfields will look to make in back-to-back All Ireland Senior Club Camogie titles on Saturday when they take on Loughgiel Shamrocks from Antrim at 6:30PM in Croke Park. Sarsfields who have remained unbeaten since their last All Ireland victory in March will be keen to add their 3rd All Ireland title to their medal tally on Saturday.
It is well known at this stage that Sarsfields have had their injury concerns throughout their whole campaign to date. Maria Cooney, Clodagh McGrath and Shannon Corcoran were all carrying knocks heading into their semi final victory over St Vincent’s, but all these girls returned to the field of play last Saturday. However, Galway Senior Camogie star, Sarah Spellman did not start the semi final due to an injury and she will be in a race to get fit for Saturday’s final while Orlaith McGrath and Erica Leslie have long term injuries and will miss out on Saturday’s game. Sarsfields have all the experience and are well used to All Ireland Club finals day. There perfect start and experience proved pivotal in their victory over St Vincent’s last Saturday but they know that they will have to improve on their performance as the Loughgiel Shamrocks team has plenty of players that have also tasted victory with Antrim at headquarters at Intermediate and Junior level over the last 2 years.
As you look down through the Sarsfields panel, it is evident that there is a serious amount of talent on the starting 15 and in the substitutes too. Maria Cooney has proven to be the rock of the Sarsfields defence throughout the year picking up the player of the game award in the Semi Finals. Maria, who has played the sweeper role in games throughout the year, has been a fantastic reader of the game and has blocked out team’s attacks on the Sarsfields defence. In midfield, Niamh McGrath has led the sign with distinction throughout the year. Between playing as both a defensive and attacking midfielder, Niamh has set up plenty of the Sarsfields attacks and has been accurate from placed balls. Up front they will be looking to Siobhan McGrath to do damage for them up front. Siobhan who is not stranger to scoring the winning goals for both her club and county was key to Sarsfields getting over the line against St Vincent’s in the semi-final. Sarsfields have many more key players over the pitch such as young guns Reitseal Kelly, Rachel Murray and Shannon Corcoran. They are the side with the experience on the main stage and should get over the line on Saturday.
Loughgiel Shamrocks on the other hand will be no push over. They have been second best to Slaughtneil since 2016, loosing 6 Ulster camogie titles on the trot. Their disappointment of loosing the last 6 was shown this year when they overcame the 3 time All Ireland Champions and 6 in a row Ulster Camogie champion. Loughgiel have some serious camogie players in their outfit with Antrim stars Roisin McCormack, Caitrin Dobbin and Amy Boyle all part of their team. The hurt that they have felt struggling to get past Ulster for previous 6 years has proven to be the driving force behind this side throughout the year and they will be certainly no push over on Saturday as they look to put all the disappointment behind them.
As the song goes, to win just once, may be what is driving Loughgiel Shamrocks along this year, but Sarsfields will be keen to make it back to back All Ireland titles. Sarsfields experience in grinding out victories in this competition will prove pivotal on Saturday as they enter out into the field of dreams in Croke Park again. While it will be a close game, Sarsfields may have enough experience both on the field and on the bench to seal their back to back titles.
- Sarsfields’ Niamh McGrath chat to Galway Bay FM ahead of AIB All-Ireland Championship Games in Croke Park – Galway Bay FM
- Sarsfields vs Loughgiel Shamrocks (All-Ireland Senior Final Preview) – Galway Bay FM
- Unbeaten Sarsfields prepare for onslaught from Loughgeil – Galway Advertiser
- Family ties and legacies on line in camogie club final – RTE.ie
- Sarsfields aiming for two in a row against Loughiel – The Examiner