Defending champions keep their title defence on track

Sarsfields Siobhan McGrath moves in to try and block the effort of St Thomas' Michelle Prendergast. Photos: Enda Noone.
Sarsfields Siobhan McGrath moves in to try and block the effort of St Thomas' Michelle Prendergast. Photos: Enda Noone.

Sarsfields 0-10

St Thomas 1-5

The blustery winds nearly knocked the defending champions off course last Sunday, but Sarsfields survived to take their place in the County Senior Camogie Final.

Amy Caulfield’s goal straight after half-time set St Thomas up for a shock against the team they fell to by 14 points in the group stages but points for Niamh, Orlaith and Siobhan McGrath along with Sarah Spellman ensured this year’s All-Ireland finalists kept their back-to-back ambitions intact.

Conditions were always going to be difficult taking the weather into account, and Michael McGrath’s charges hadn’t seen action in three months. But St Thomas brought the challenge and will be disappointed this slipped away from them.

It took six minutes for the game’s opener when Rachel Murray set up Orlaith McGrath for Sarsfields but within 60 seconds Finola Keely picked out Caulfield to level affairs. A stop-start opening 30 minutes was also littered with misses and both teams also were given opportunities to make major statements as referee Conor Quinlan awarded two penalties.

Beforehand, Keely set up Dee Burke to give Vinny Healy’s outfit the lead, but despite neither hitting the heights they were capable off, they didn’t lack in resolve. Sarsfields gave the immediate response with Niamh McGrath picking out her sister Siobhan for the equaliser.

The first goal chance came on the quarter hour as Orlaith McGrath was fouled. Niamh McGrath struck her penalty well towards the corner but Lorraine Coen was equal to the effort, deflecting the sliothar out for a 45. Sarsfields didn’t go unrewarded and Niamh McGrath made no mistake with the resulting placed ball giving her team a 0-3 to 0-2 advantage which they held until half-time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.