AIB ALL-IRELAND SENIOR CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Sarsfields (Galway) v Slaughtneil (Derry)
3.30pm, St. Tiernach's Park, Clones, Co. Monaghan
Referee: Cathal Egan (Cork)
This is a repeat of last year’s final, with Sarsfields seeking revenge after being turned over and Slaughtneil aiming to prove they are no flash in the pan having become the first Derry side to annex the AIB All-Ireland Senior Club Championship title.
In truth, they have already done that by returning to centre stage and if former manager Thomas Cassidy will never be far from their thoughts, this year’s campaign will not have been so heavily laced in emotion as last year’s, during which the Slaughtneil legend passed away.
His daughters Éilís, Bróna and Aoife, who lifted the Bill and Agnes Carroll Cup 12 months ago, remain mainstays of the Slaughtneil challenge, along with midfield dynamo Shannon Graham and Louise Dougan.
They have had their squad supplemented to a significant degree by the addition of Offaly All-Stars nominee Tina Hannon, who as well as contributing in general play, has taken over the free-taking duties too.
Just like last year’s campaign, the crew led by Dominic McKinley and Damian McEldowney have endured some close shaves but continue to find their way through, bolstered by a sense of belief that can only have been fortified further by winning an All-Ireland.
They haven’t suffered any loss in appetite either by the look of things, digging deep to see off Antrim’s Loughgiel Shamrocks in the Ulster Final, when they only took the lead with three minutes of normal time remaining thanks to a Therese Mallon goal, and against Kilkenny champions Thomastown in extra-time of the AIB All-Ireland Semi-Final.
Sarsfields will hope to have learned from last year’s experience of losing by two points. It was a devastating reverse but the Bullaun/New Inn contingent had annexed the Galway title for the first time in their history and this time around, managed the rare feat of retaining it. They had nine points in hand when accounting for Mullagh in a hugely impressive performance.
By edging out Burgess Duharra of Tipperary at the penultimate hurdle by the minimum margin, they are providing a Galway presence in the Senior decider for the sixth consecutive time. Startlingly though, the previous five have ended in defeat for Killimor (twice), Ardrahan, Mullagh and of course themselves. Indeed the last Galway success arrived back in 2011, when Killimor triumphed over Inniscarra of Cork.
Siobhán and Orlaith McGrath, who is this year’s skipper, were outstanding 12 months ago and along with sisters Niamh and Clodagh, will need to perform very well if the team managed by their father Michael is to prevail. Siobhán in particular was outstanding in the Semi-Final and hit the winning score.
Other crucial players include powerful attacker Maria Cooney and Tara Kenny, player of the match in the county final, who earned an All-Stars nomination last season for her performances in the full-back line as she captained the Tribeswomen to the All-Ireland Semi-Final.
It is clear that there is nothing between the sides and that the game will hinge on the finest of margins. If the weather gods co-operate, that should result in a feast of entertainment for those in attendance.
Ticket Prices & Information
Students/Senior Citizens: €10 – Purchase Adult Ticket – Concessions available only on matchday with valid ID (€5 rebate on gate)
Under 18: €5
Tickets can be purchased in advance from Centra/SuperValu outlets nationwide or from outside the ground on matchday.
- Tickets already purchased for the original fixture(s) will be valid for the re-fixture. Refunds will be issued once tickets are returned to the point of purchase prior to re-fixed game.
- Tickets bought through Centra/SuperValu outlets can be refunded by the store where the purchase was made.
- Print at home tickets will be refunded and cancelled via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Postal orders should be returned to: Ticket Returns, Tickets.ie, 334 The Capel Building, Mary's Abbey, Dublin 7
- Group tickets bought through the Camogie Association can be refunded by contacting email@example.com
If you can't make it to the matches click HERE from 1.15pm on Saturday March 24th for LIVE coverage of the AIB All-Ireland Senior & Intermediate Club Championships Finals from St. Tiernach's Park, Clones, Co. Monaghan!