Aoife Ni Chaiside says Sarsfields were allowed to bully Slaughtneil in decider

Slaughtneil's Aoife Ni Chaiside believes Sarsfields were allowed to stretch the rules of camogie as they denied the Derry club a fourth straight All-Ireland Club title on Sunday.

Siobhan McGrath's late goal helped the Galway side earn a 1-8 to 0-10 win.

Slaughtneil felt they were denied a blatant late free and were also unhappy with Sarsfields' physical approach.

"We felt it was very physical. Maybe more so breaking the rules," said Ni Chaiside on Monday.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Sportsound Extra Time, Ni Chaiside added: "We were so disappointed after the match that we had lost out mostly because of our own mistakes.

'We were bullied in the first half'

"Not playing in the first half. Missed chances. We were bullied in the first half more than anything.

"We definitely picked it up in the second half. As players we felt we weren't really protected as such.

"To reach the All-Ireland Final again was amazing but we're bitterly disappointed not to come out on the right side of it.

"We were being hassled and harried and that's expected but…," added Ni Chaiside, holding her tongue, before restating Slaughtneil's bitter disappointment.

Sarsfields, beaten by Slaughtneil in the 2017 and 2018 finals, led by three at half-time but the Derry side fought back to lead in late in the second half before McGrath's late clinching goal.

"We let them get on top of us but we had that experience and belief that we could come back," continued Ni Chaiside.

"We definitely stepped it up a gear in the second half. We drew it and they went ahead and we drew it again. Then we finally got the break and went ahead. But then they got the goal."

Siobhan McGrath and Eilis McGrath
Siobhan McGrath (left) scored Sarsfields' late goal before Eilis McGrath (right) was controversially denied a Slaughtneil free in injury-time

'We'll talk more about this loss than the wins'

Even after that, Slaughtneil scored next to leave only one it but referee John Dermody's decision not to award a late free after Eilis McGrath ended up on the deck as she charged towards goal only compounded the Derry side's sense of injustice following the final whistle.

"Sarsfields are very hard working. The put in serious hooks and blocks on us. Their intensity was second to none. We got one point after that and in the final minute we probably thought we could have got a free."

While little more than 24 hours has passed since Slaughtneil's defeat, Ni Chaiside says the hurt is likely to remain in the years ahead.

"We'll probably talk more about yesterday's loss than the three All-Irelands that we've won.

"But we know the community are very, very proud of us no matter about yesterday's result.

"It's massive what we have achieved and now that we lost yesterday, we can start to look back.

"Every one of the players has put in the commitment over the last four years. Players have come and gone and managers as well and I suppose it's just been one hell of a journey for all of us."

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