Christmas came early to Kilkenny’s Dicksboro on Sunday as the city club ended a 17-year wait for a senior club title to make its way back Noreside while claiming their first-ever All-Ireland title at the expense of defending champions Sarsfields.
Having captained Kilkenny in the 2022 All-Ireland-winning campaign, sharpshooter Aoife Prendergast knows a thing or two about playing in Croke Park and while she has experienced the high of collecting the O’Duffy Cup on the steps of the Hogan Stand in the black and amber, doing it with your club is a different story, writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
“Oh yeah,” agreed Prendergast. “It’s where you start your journey, it’s where you end your journey. It’s a privilege to play in Croke Park with your club. A great honour. Unbelievable.
“It was a huge battle. One to fifteen, subs coming on. It took a huge push. Sarsfields are an incredible team. Credit to them. We sat at home sitting on the couch in front of the fire watching them last year. And we were inspired to be where they were. We looked up to them last year. We drove it on today. We brought huge hunger, huge battle and that’s what took us over the line. It took everything to get over the line today.”
Just as she did in the semi-final against Loughgiel a few weeks ago, Prendergast showed nerves of steel with every dead ball as the ‘Boro clawed their way past Sarsfields late in the second half.
And though she scored nine points and was deservedly named player of the match, it was easy to agree with the impeccable ball striker when she talked about the balance of the team. There were eight individual scorers, while the defence was outstanding also, either in marking or rampaging out of defence to launch attacks with blistering pace.
“It’s a credit to all the girls out the field to give you the chance to score. It’s a great privilege to get to stand over them frees and put them over for such an incredible bunch of girls.
“We’re not a team of individuals. I’m after getting this award (player of the match). Everyone on this team could have got it. We stand up. Day-in, day-out. I know if I have a terrible game, someone else is going to stand up and that’s what we’re all about.
“It’s gonna be a great Christmas. I’ll just tell my friends and family, I don’t want anything for Christmas. I have the best Christmas present I could get.”
Listen back: Dicksboro v Sarsfields
Additional reporting Ken McGuire.