Hannon shines as Slaughtneil retain title
Slaughtneil 2-11 Sarsfields 1-9
Losing last year's goalscoring hero Mary Kelly to emigration was a significant blow to Slaughtneil's ambitions of defending their AIB All-Ireland Senior Club title in Clones on Saturday.
For a while it looked like they might also have to do without Shannon Graham, but thankfully she returned from a stint abroad and was magnificent as the Derry side proved too strong for Sarsfields in the decider once more.
They did have a new, not-so-secret weapon, however, in Tina Hannon. The Offaly star relocated to the area and is building a house with former Derry footballer and Slaughtneil midfielder Patsy Bradley.
Having played a major role in getting them to St Tiernach's Park, Hannon produced another Player of the Match performance by scoring 1-8 and, in the end, even augmenting a tremendous defensive effort.
Hannon's 1-4 in the first-half was particularly important.
The goal came immediately after Sinéad Cannon capitalised on sensational work by Siobhán McGrath to raise a green flag at the other end.
The teams went in at 1-5 apiece and the Robert Emmetts contingent gradually exerted increased pressure as the second-half wore on.
Louise Dougan got Slaughtneil's second goal with a penalty.
"It's been a dream really," said Hannon. "It was tough. Even before this match, we'd a really tough semi-final.
"When you go in a draw at half-time, it's even-steven again for the second-half. We pushed on, pushed forward and got the result we wanted: back-to-back All-Ireland champions."
Hannon's former club Naomh Bríd sent her a card wishing her luck beforehand. It also included a bit of grass, and a reminder not to forget her roots. That would never happen.
"On days like this you think back to where it all started. It started with my native club, Ballyskenach, and then we amalgamated with Coolderry to be Naomh Bríd. It was a real journey. I left the club last year on a high, we won the Junior Championship.
"When I was leaving last year they knew the circumstances and they've been nothing but a massive support."
Scorers - Slaughtneil: T Hannon 1-8 (6f), L Dougan 1-0 (pen), T Mellon 0-2, S McKaigue 0-1.
Sarsfields: S Cannon 1-1, S McGrath 0-3 (3f), N McGrath 0-2 (1f), O McGrath, R Murray, M Cooney (f) 0-1 each.
Slaughtneil - J Bradley; C McGrath, B Ní Chaiside, Dervlagh McGuigan; E Ní Chaiside, A Ní Chaiside, G O'Kane; Denise McGuigan, L Dougan; S Graham, T Hannon, S McKaigue; T Mellon, J McMullan, S Mellon. Subs: C McEldowney for S Mellon (52), A McGrath for Denise McGuigan (56), B McAllister for T Mellon (60+2)
Sarsfields - Y Lyons; R Murphy, L Ward, A Spellman; T Kenny, C McGrath, E Leslie; K Gallagher, N McGrath; M Cooney, O McGrath, S Spellman; S Cannon, S McGrath, R Murray. Subs: K Donohue for N McGrath (inj, 40), E Larkin for Leslie (inj, 60+4)
Ref - C Egan (Cork).