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‘The Work Was Done Many Years Ago’ – Slaughtneil Setting The Mark For Others To Follow

Slaughtneil are quite possibly the most admired club in Ireland at the moment.

Having retained the Ulster title in hurling, football and camogie, the county Derry hamlet have put the efforts of bigger clubs to shame with their attitude.

They are the example of what every club in the country aspires to – competing at the highest level in multiple codes.

While the Oaf Leaf champions burst onto the scene when they hurlers and footballers won Ulster titles overcoming a gruelling schedule, it was the camogie team that took home an All-Ireland title, as they beat Sarsfields of Galway 1-10 to 0-11.

The same two teams have made the Croke Park decider again in 2018 – as another incredible year for the Derry club saw all three teams retain county and provincial titles.

Their success has seen rival clubs take note.

However, while they are bearing the fruits now, it is years of hard that has seen the club get to where they are today.

Speaking ahead of the All-Ireland club camogie final, Slaughtneil’s Aoife Ní Chaiside spoke about her side’s rise to the top.

“There have been a number of other clubs looking in (at us).

“(But) the foundation work was done many, many years ago and that’s why we are getting the success we are at the minute.

“Other clubs are looking on, I suppose with the boys, with the dual aspect of it.

“We’re able to only concentrate on the camogie but with the dual players, there’s a lot of clubs wondering how it’s done and how you manage it.”

Now up on a pedestal, Slaughtneil have are now the team to beat. However, according to Ní Chaiside, expectations haven’t led to a change in preparation.

“It’s been pretty much the same, we took it game-by-game last year and we did the same this year right through our county championship, onto Ulster and the All-Ireland semi-final a few weeks ago.

“(It’s been) pretty much the same preparation-wise up as far as this week preparing for the final on March 4.”

Most clubs count themselves lucky to grace the hallowed turf of Croke Park just once. For the Derry club, they are making a habit of it.

While the hurlers fell at the All-Ireland semi-final hurdle against eventual champions Cuala and the footballers were beaten on St Patrick’s Day, the camogie success ensured that at least one national title went to Slaughtneil.

“It was good to get silverware between the three teams and we were the lucky ones to do it.

“Last year was an amazing experience, the whole team coming into Croke Park on the bus. It was the first time for the whole team.

“This year is slightly different because we experienced it last year so I don’t think we will be as nervous this year but there will still be that excitement of going out to play in Croke Park, which is a massive opportunity and we’ll make the most of it.”

While Sarsfields will be looking to get one over Slaughtneil, the Derry girls will be as focused as ever as they look to retain their All-Ireland title.


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Author: The PA Team

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