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Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2019: Slaughtneil savour more success with Team of Year Gold prize


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Girl power: Slaughtneil celebrate winning the AIB All-Ireland Senior Camogie Club Championship in 2019

Girl power: Slaughtneil celebrate winning the AIB All-Ireland Senior Camogie Club Championship in 2019

©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Girl power: Slaughtneil celebrate winning the AIB All-Ireland Senior Camogie Club Championship in 2019

When it comes to achieving sporting success, Slaughtneil camogie club certainly don’t believe in half-measures.

For a small club nestling in the Sperrins, Slaughtneil have emerged to become the dominant force in Derry, Ulster and All-Ireland camogie.

In doing so, they have provided inspiration for scores of other clubs in the pursuit of their sporting dreams.

Unheralded — indeed relatively unknown up until 2015 — Slaughtneil have within a comparatively short period of time reset the barometer for all clubs harbouring Championship ambitions.

The Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards at the Crowne Plaza Hotel saw 18 prizes handed out to 11 different sports, highlighting a superb year of success for our sporting icons.

Not since they fell to Loughgiel in the Ulster Championship final in 2015 have Slaughtneil lost a Camogie Championship match at any level.

Five Derry titles, four Ulster Championship honours and the last three All-Ireland crowns have been captured — and now they have clinched our Team of the Year Gold Award.

Much of this success has been gained under joint managers Dominic McKinley and Damien McEldowney, who have masterminded what is one of the greatest club success stories in GAA.

But while success has become a way of life within the club, it has on occasions been achieved against a backdrop of emotion.

Thomas Cassidy, father of the three talented Cassidy sisters Aoife, Brona and Eilis, passed away just before the 2016 Ulster final.

The club’s vow to win the provincial and All-Ireland finals was duly carried out as a tribute to his memory for it was the flame that Thomas lit which has kept Slaughtneil burning brightly on the camogie front.

In the 2017 and 2018 All-Ireland finals, they overcame the fancied Sarsfields side from Galway before getting the better of a strong St Martin’s side from Wexford in last year’s decider in the snow at Croke Park.

And it will be business as usual again this Sunday for the Slaughtneil girls when they face Clare and Munster champions Scariff-Ogonnelloe in the All-Ireland semi-final.

It only goes to show that there is no rest for the wicked — and nor the successful it would appear.

Belfast Telegraph