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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Croker date adds to prestige of title

CAMOGIE chief Joan O'Flynn is happy that the All-Ireland Club Championship final is returning to Croke Park next month.

It adds to the prestige of the competition which has seen four Dublin winners over the years -- Celtic (1964), Eoghan Ruadh (1967), Austin Stacks (1971 and '72) and Crumlin in 1985.

St Vincent's were the last Dublin side to contest the final. That was in 1998 against Granagh Ballingarry.

In the semi-final, Vins beat Down's Fontenoys, who had the brilliant Maureen McAleenan.

The Limerick club had home advantage in the final. There was a big crowd and a heavy pitch. After 20 minutes, Vincent's trailed by eight points.

They battled hard to get back, but Granagh took the prize by 1-19 to 1-8. Ben Dorney managed Vins, who were captained by Germaine Noonan.

The Dubliners also contained Patsy Murphy, the wife of Dublin hurling selector, Ciaran Hetherton, and Niamh Cregan, daughter of Limerick's Eamonn.

Also on board was the future All-Star Eimear Brannigan, who is married to the recently retired League of Ireland footballer, Ollie Cahill.



Sisters

The 1998 St Vincent's line-up read: Mary Regan; Patsy Murphy, Niamh Cregan, Patricia Clinton, Germaine Noonan, Ursula Hannon, Denise O'Leary, Roisín Brady, Louise Lynch, Adrienne McGovern, Denise Smith, Eimear Brannnigan.

The next Camogie President, Aileen Lawlor, played on the victorious '85 Crumlin side. She had three sisters for company, Yvonne, Ann and Barbara.

Jimmy Boggan and Billy Maloney steered them to glory against Athenry at O'Toole Park. Mary Mernagh was the captain.

When the famed Eoghan Ruadh struck gold in 1967, they had two future Camogie Presidents in the dressing-room, Phyllis Breslin and Pat Rafferty. The cultured Lyons sisters, Kay and Connie, also played.

Celtic were the inaugural winners of the tournament. They also had a President in their midst, Mary Moran, now the renowned author. Una O'Connor also played. She won an incredible 13 All-Ireland senior medals with Dublin.

Austin Stacks won many admirers, and a sack full of silver. On their winning '71 and '72 teams was Anne Sheehy, a future Croke Park camogie CEO. She later married the Kerry footballer, John Kennedy.

Also showing her class in those triumphs was Orla Ní Síocháin, who had, perhaps, the deepest GAA pedigree of all. Orla's son, Shane, is a Dalo Disciple.

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