Vincent’s battle to back-to-back titles

by James Hendicott
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ST VINCENT’S maintained their Dublin senior camogie title on Sunday, overcoming Lucan Sarsfields by 1-8 to 1-5 in a slow-burning finale that improved as it progressed.
With the two teams cancelling each other out in a tight early battle, it took until early in the second half for a score to come from open play. Shortly afterwards, the floodgates opened with Vincent’s coming out on top in what swiftly kicked into a fast-paced shoot out.
The first half, though, showed no signs of what was to come: with a notable bite to the game, midfield was everything early doors. Claire Donnelly in the Vincent’s midfield and Ciara Casey alongside late replacement Amy Conroy for Sarsfields particularly impressed over the early stages, with very little clean ball available in the forwards lines.
Claire Rigney, Lucan’s corner forward, perhaps looked the most threatening, often requiring two to shut down her moves down the wing, but almost all the notable first half chances came through set plays.
Casey was fouled whilst shooting for Sarsfields and, after seeing her effort fly wide, tapped over the subsequent free to put Lucan in front. Alison Maguire for Vincent’s returned fire, with the pair getting two each to bring things to 0-2 each at half-time.
The best moment fell to Vincent’s, with Joelene Hoary in the Lucan goal coping well with a late-half onslaught.
The first score from open play was to be a goal and took six minutes after the break to arrive. Eimear McCarthy hit a slightly speculative shot at the Sarsfields goal, one that ricocheted off Hoary’s stick and into the net.
The goalkeeper redeemed herself soon after in nicking a goal chance away from the stick of Aisling Maher shortly afterwards in a vital last-gasp defensive move.
Vincent’s though, were going through a purple patch, with Maher, Aine Fanning and Maguire racing them into a seven-point lead, fuelled in part by the attacking verve of Donnelly in midfield.
Sarsfields replied with their own period of dominance, but it never reached quite the level of Vincent’s at their best.
With ten minutes left, Orla Beagan gave the Lucan side reason to hope, finally notching the west-Dubs first point from play.
Shortly afterwards, a pitched ball found Conroy, who stretched above the Vincent’s defence to edge the ball past Nicole Burnett in the Marino side’s goal.
Briefly, a great escape seemed on. But Vincent’s steadied the ship and brought the gap back out to a goal before the final whistle blew to ecstatic reactions.

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