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Laura Ward, Siobhán McGrath and Tara Kenny celebrate following Sarsfields' AIB All Ireland Club Camogie Final success over Slaughtneil at Croke Park.
Laura Ward, Siobhán McGrath and Tara Kenny celebrate following Sarsfields' AIB All Ireland Club Camogie Final success over Slaughtneil at Croke Park.

McGrath delighted to be involved in latest Sarsfields' success story


By Cian O'Connell

In Galway the respect for Sarsfields always ran deep. Throughout the past couple of decades Sarsfields greatness has been reflected on the playing fields of the country.

That is why last month's AIB All Ireland Club Camogie triumph over Slaughtneil brought such joy.

The McGraths are one of the adored families, who remain integral to the health of Sarsfields. A fondness for hurling and camogie has been passed through the generations with four sisters part of the current Sarsfields' panel.

"Yeah, definitely," Siobhán McGrath replies. "If you look at the current team that won the All-Ireland and the hurling teams that won the All-Irelands in the ‘90s, there’s so many connections like nearly everyone has either a father or an uncle on those teams.

"That’s kind of what drove us on a good bit this year and in previous years, do you know, growing up and listening to the stories of the class times they all had after winning All-Irelands, and we were just like, why can’t we do that ourselves?"

McGrath planted the decisive goal to eventually shrug off a most resilient Slaughtneil outfit. "Exactly, I don't know what we would have done if we lost again," McGrath replies.

"It would have been awful hard to even try to comeback. It is such a long road to the All Ireland. To win Galway alone is really, really hard.

"The semi-final against Mullagh in the county was after extra-time. It is such a long slog to get to March."

Former Galway hurling star Michael 'Hopper' McGrath guided Sarsfields to AIB All Ireland Club Camogie glory last month at Croke Park.
Former Galway hurling star Michael 'Hopper' McGrath guided Sarsfields to AIB All Ireland Club Camogie glory last month at Croke Park.

Sarsfields still found a way to climb the Hogan Stand steps again. Manager Michael 'Hopper' McGrath, a totemic figure in the west, provided the sideline guidance.

"Yeah, I’d say he was the happiest person ever to be honest," his daughter Siobhán laughs. He’s put so much into it these last few years. He’s been over all our underage teams since my older sister Niamh was about six or seven. 

"I was delighted for him too, like he won with Sarsfields in the 90s and he was mad for us to experience that for ourselves so it was great that we could."

Now, though, with the current Covid19 crisis the games have stopped. It is a test for McGrath, who returned to the Galway panel before Christmas.

"I was focusing on the club and doing my Leaving Cert, a few things like that," McGrath says about missing out on Galway's All Ireland triumph in 2019. "I was trying to focus on that. I was repeating my Leaving Cert so I wanted to make sure I did that properly second time around."

The garden is currently providing the McGraths with an opportunity to prepare for when action resumes.

"Our coach for Galway Robbie Lane has given us all a programme to follow," Siobhán McGrath states. 

"It is grand, you have a bit of structure and there is nothing else to be at anyway. You like getting outside, getting a bit of exercise done."

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