Camogie joy for Sarsfields’ heroines

by Stephen Findlater
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THE IMPACT of the introduction of Lucan Sarsfields’ camogie nursery back in 2003 showed its incredible value once in the last fortnight with a wealth of players from the 12th Lock under-pinning Dublin’s success.

Lucan’s Kate Whyte, Niamh Byrne, Ann-Marie Courtney, Claire Rigney, Ailbhe Ryan, Orla Beagan and Laura Morrissey all played vital roles in last weekend’s Leinster Minor A championship victory, a first for the county.

A further four players – Michelle Kelly, Emma Flanagan, Siobhan Grimes and Emer Keenan – along with Beagan and Ryan were in the Dublin junior panel that won the All-Ireland final a week earlier, bringing a series of medals to the club.

And club man Liam Ryan, the club’s senior team coach, says that this success is a product of a consistently dedicated approach to promoting the game.

“It all dates back to starting the nursery 10 years ago in 2003. Those [minor] girls were all six, seven or eight at that stage. Perhaps before we expected it, they won the All-Ireland Feile five years later and we repeated that success in 2010 and have gone on to contest six Dublin Feile finals – a record for any club –in a row and won it again this year.

“It shows we are consistently producing an Under-14 team of quality every year. There’s a whole method and system in place. It came from the club in general. There are so many people involved from the bottom up who saw the potential in 2003 and built on it.”

He also praises the club for putting in top-quality facilities like the new clubhouse, astro pitches and floodlights to help achieve these heights.

“Those things have been crucial for camogie and hurling along with the 10 or 11 primary schools in Lucan whose teachers have got on board with the club.”

It has meant a meteoric rise and lots of silverware and Ryan says that this is having a knock-on effect at adult level.

The club gained promotion to division one of the leagues for the first time in the last couple of years and, while trophies at this level could be a few years off, Ryan is confident this is in the pipeline.

“The side is unbelievably young. Of the squad of 20, there are 16 or 17 who are teenagers. When you reach the tough end of the senior championship, you are really going up against seriously experienced sides.

“All we do is go out and try hard. We have a gang of young ones who love it, all grew up together and are very dedicated so I don’t see any clouds on the horizon but of course, a senior championship does take some winning and will not fall into our lap.”

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