Sars secure third national title

by Stephen Findlater
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LUCAN Sarsfields claimed an incredible third All-Ireland camogie Feile title in seven years last weekend as they saw off allcomers in Semple Stadium, Thurles, last Saturday in a blistering display.

In a rejigged format that now pits the champions from the top eight camogie counties against each other, Lucan tore through the group phase with victories over Cork’s Newcestown (2-4 to no score), Tipperary’s Silvermines (4-6 to 0-2) and Clare’s Kilmaley (1-7 to no score).

It set up a final showdown with Kilkenny’s finest Thomastown who had beaten sides from Limerick, Wexford and Galway to reach the decider. In the final, Thomastown got off to a great start with a superbly taken goal but Lucan fought back with Jessica McClelland to the fore as they bounced back to lead by three points at the break with Aoife Mahon nabbing a goal.

The Kilkenny side responded in kind with two goals early in the second half and a couple of points but, finding themselves in the new situation of being behind, Lucan showed immense resolve to draw level with a 45 with 60 seconds left on the clock before McClelland right at the last with another free to nick the win 1-9 to 3-2.

Speaking about the success, manager Joe Leonard hailed his side’s performance.

“To concede just two points against the county champions from Cork, Tipperary and Clare – the top counties in Ireland in Camogie – is just stunning,” he said.

“The defending was spectacular, Tara O’Connor at full-back – who actually had a chest infection – was magnificent and Sarah Prendergast was the captain at centre-back. But it was the strength in depth that was the key; all 15 players and five subs could all play to a standard which is a huge advantage to have; it’s phenomenal.

“The marking and tackling were the key to it and it gave the platform for Jessica McClelland – who is a superstar – to keep taking scores.”

He added that lining out in the home of hurling made the occasion extra special.

“Playing in Semple Stadium in Thurles was a fantastic experience for the children, parents and supporters. The kids may not realise that yet but those who know their sport’s history would know what it meant to be on that pitch.”

There will be little rest time for many of the Lucan players, though, with nine eligible to line out for the region’s Community Games side next weekend in Carlow in the Leinster final.
It is testimony to the ongoing efforts being put done in the area to promote the sport.
“It’s down to the hard work with our link with the schools in Lucan. It is key with the nursery on a Saturday afternoon filled with tonnes of kids, playing football and Camogie. It’s hard work but the structure we have in Lucan, is the key. That’s three All-Ireland’s in seven years!”

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