Sarsfields and Slaughtneil lead the way in Club Team of the Year

Sarsfields and Slaughtneil lead the way in Club Team of the Year

AIB All-Ireland Club Camogie champions Sarsfields and beaten finalists Slaughtneil account for 12 of the 15 players named on the team of the year.

Galway outfit Sarsfields won their maiden All-Ireland with a 1-8 to 0-10 victory over their Derry opponents at Croke Park last month and both clubs have six players on the team, with Sarsfields full-forward Siobhan McGrath and Slaughtneil wing-back Aoife Ní Chasaide in line for player of the year honours.

Clare club Scariff-Ogonnelloe have two representatives on the 15, including midfielder Mairéad Scanlan, while St Vincent's forward Niamh Hetherton completes the line-up.

Both Scanlan and Hetherton are also on the shortlist for player of the year, which is made up of four provincial players of the year.

1. Laura Glynn

County: Galway

Club: Sarsfields

Main position: Goalkeeper

A position that demands safe hands and an assured touch, Sarsfields have the right player standing underneath the crossbar. Glynn made crucial interventions in the All-Ireland semi-final win over St Vincent’s, and crucially kept a clean sheet in the final against Slaughtneil. Steady as a rock.

2. Céat McEldowney

County: Derry

Club: Slaughtneil

Main position: Defender

Incredibly, McEldowney was playing her third final despite her young years. One for the future, but very much standing out in the present too. Made a number of crucial blocks in the final.

3. Laura Ward

County: Galway

Club: Sarsfields

Main position: Defender

A star in defence, and a good thing too because new leaders were required this season in the absence of Tara Kenny, who suffered a dreaded cruciate knee injury. Ward often picked up the opposition’s key attacker, and rarely looked flustered.

4. Susan Vaughan

County: Clare

Club: Scariff-Ogonnelloe

Main position: Defender

Vaughan was a defensive bulwark for Jim Minogue’s crew as they became the first Banner side in 30 years to claim senior provincial honours. One of the star turns in the county final win over Newmarket-on-Fergus, she continued that form throughout the Munster campaign and in the decider against Drom-Inch, before holding her own against Slaughtneil.

5. Aoife Ní Chaiside

County: Derry

Club: Slaughtneil

Main position: Defender

Ní Chaiside stormed into the second half of the All-Ireland final after Sars had put themselves into a good position by the interval. Always one of the most reliable on the team, and that was no different this season.

6. Maria Cooney

County: Galway

Club: Sarsfields

Main position: Defender

There had been concerns that Cooney would miss the club semi-final win over St Vincent’s, but she overcame an ankle injury to play a key part. A fearless performer in front of the full-back line, she dominated so many games during the campaign, and was a defiant force in the All-Ireland final when facing the might of the three-in-a-row champions.

7. Shannon Graham

County: Derry

Club: Slaughtneil

Main position: Midfielder

A goalscorer and player of the match in the Ulster final win over Loughgiel, before striking two points in the win over Scariff-Ogonnolloe — this was an all-action season from Graham. There were huge concerns when her ankle injury held up the All-Ireland semi-final for four minutes, but she allayed fears by returning for the final to play a crucial part.

8. Maireád Scanlan

County: Clare

Club: Scariff-Ogonnelloe

Main position: Midfielder

Scanlan played a captain’s role throughout successful Clare and Munster campaigns — winning both titles for the first time at senior level. Her six points helped lead a massive fightback against Slaughtneil in the semi-final, as they outscored their opponents by 1-4 to 0-1 in the final 18 minutes but just came up short. A fantastic season.

9. Niamh McGrath

County: Galway

Club: Sarsfields

Main position: Midfielder

Contributed so well, whether it from long-range frees, scoring from play, or her fantastic ability to win possession. An inspirational figure out around the middle of the field.

10. Siobhán Bradley

County: Derry

Club: Slaughtneil

Main position: Forward

Bradley was a solid performer all season, working hard and knitting the play together well. Put her side ahead during the second half of the All-Ireland final as the Derry troops looked to claim a comeback win.

11. Orlaith McGrath

County: Galway

Club: Sarsfields

Main position: Forward

Outstanding performance in the final at Croke Park, best exhibited in how her searing run through three defenders allowed sister Siobhan to score the game-clinching goal. A constant menace in a final where she finished with 0-3 from play.

12. Tina Bradley

County: Derry

Club: Slaughtneil

Main position: Forward

The former Offaly star hit 1-5 in the semi-final win over Scarriff-Ogonnelloe, and all season was lethal both from play and with the placed balls. Both a scorer and a provider, Bradley is fully deserving of her award.

13. Louise Dougan

County: Derry

Club: Slaughtneil

Main position: Forward

Regularly operates as a sweeper, but Dougan is a threat going forward too. Both of these facets were on show against Scariff-Ogonnolloe when her covering and long-distance shooting punished the Clare side. Dougan’s brilliant free with ten seconds to go in normal time of the final put Slaughtneil in pole position to secure an All-Ireland four-in-a-row, but alas it wasn’t to be.

14. Siobhán McGrath

County: Galway

Club: Sarsfields

Main position: Forward

When the need is greatest, the big players step up. A point behind three-in-a-row champions Slaughtneil as the clock slipped into injury time, McGrath took a pass from her sister Orlaith, spun, and rattled the net to snatch the All-Ireland crown for Sarsfields. Having already been named player of the match in the semi-final win over St Vincent’s, nailing 1-4 of 1-8 at Croke Park would drive Sars to a maiden club title. A class act.

15. Niamh Hetherton

County: Dublin

Club: St Vincents

Main position: Forward

Hetherton scored the decisive goal in the Leinster final win over St Martin’s, dipping her shot to the net in the latter stages. Sarfields beat St Vincent’s in what was a first club semi-final for the Marino side since 1998, but Hetherton gave a defiant performance in that game.

Provincial Player of the Year winners and overall Player of the Year nominees:

Siobhán McGrath – Sarsfields (Connacht)

Niamh Hetherton – St. Vincents (Leinster)

Mairéad Scanlan – Scariff-Ogonnelloe (Munster)

Aoife Ní Chaiside – Slaughtneil (Ulster)

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