McCarry sparkles as Loughgiel defend title
Slaughtneil 1-9 Loughgiel 1-14
This Ulster Senior Club Camogie Championship final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh yesterday had been envisaged as the first leg of a Slaughtneil double at the venue but, instead, the Derry champions' clash with a sharper, more enterprising Loughgiel outfit yielded only heartbreak.
The Antrim title-holders, powered by a stunning performance from full-forward Racquel McCarry, who landed 1-7, were more potent up front and resilient at the back, particularly when the Oak Leaf representatives attempted to salvage the game.
McCarry's first-half goal was cancelled out by a similar effort from Slaughtneil skipper Louise Dougan, who was to prove the mainstay of her team's scoring momentum by also adding two points from play, two from '45s' and two from frees.
Two points separated the sides at half-time (1-5 to 1-3) but with McGarry receiving useful support from Catrine Dobbin, Charlene Campbell and Lucia McNaughton, Loughgiel opened a 1-10 to 1-5 gap.
Slaughtneil were unable to achieve any consistency in terms of scoring from play but they were unfortunate to see a superb shot from Eilis Ní Chaiside come back off the Loughgiel crossbar with just two minutes to go.
McCarry and Campbell whipped over late points to usher Loughgiel to back-to-back titles and skipper Una McNaughton declared afterwards: "While we are delighted to have won the trophy, we know that we had to withstand fierce pressure towards the end. Slaughtneil tried hard to get the goal they needed but we managed to hold out."
Loughgiel scorers: R McCarry 1-7, C Dobbin 0-3, C Campbell 0-2, L McNaughton, A McFadden 0-1 each.
Slaughtneil scorers: L Dougan 1-6, M Kelly, S McKaigue, E Ni Chaiside 0-1 each.
Referee: Julie O'Neill (Armagh)