Sarsfields’ ace believes their experience will stand to them

By Eanna O’Reilly

WITH Sarsfields appearing in their seventh All-Ireland club final on Sunday, midfielder Clodagh McGrath feels that their experience of the occasion makes for a more low-key build up to this year’s decider.

‘‘I suppose, when you look back on the first couple of finals we got to, it was very hard not to get caught up in the hype,’’ she said. ‘‘The occasion felt so big, it was hard not to feel a bit overwhelmed by it. It feels a lot calmer at this stage, we know what to expect. Its still hard to believe that it’s our seventh final.’’

‘‘I suppose we’ve won three and lost three, so we know both sides of it. You try not to overthink it during the week, you just try to focus on the small things and getting everything right in your preparation. I’d feel less nervous now than I would have done in the first couple of finals. It helps to picture scenarios in a game and think about what you might do. It’s just a more proactive way of looking at it.’’

The Sarsfields midfielder is having an outstanding season and will be one of her team’s key players on Sunday at Croke Park. However, she is under no illusions about the scale of the task ahead against Dicksboro.

‘‘We actually played them [Dicksboro] in a challenge match earlier this year and they beat us. They were very impressive; I think they are similar to ourselves in how they play. They have fast forwards, and they always try to move the ball quickly into them.’’

‘‘We actually have a bit of history with them. We won the Féile in Kilkenny in 2007, and a lot of the girls who were playing that year are still playing for us now. Dicksboro were actually our host club at that Féile. Some of their girls have gone on to play county for Kilkenny and are some of their best players now.’’

The standards set by Sarsfields in recent years are maintained every night in training in New Inn, by the players and management. The intensity of their training sessions enable them to keep their edge, even when winning championship matches with relative ease.

‘‘Our panel is so strong, and we have really competitive matches amongst ourselves. Every girl is fighting for a place on the team, and every girl is genuinely good enough to be on it. Playing against any of our girls in training would test you, and the management always say that they don’t pick the team, the team picks itself.’’

Pictured: Sarsfields’ long-serving midfielder Clodagh McGrath in action against Loughgiel Shamrocks’ Caitrin Dobbin in last year’s All-Ireland Club camogie final.

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