Of the four O’Duffy cups won in the history of Galway Camogie Sarah Dervan has been a part of three of the squads and lifted two of them as captain of the 2019 and 2021 sides.
Climbing the steps of the Hogan stand however the Mullagh clubwoman dispels all notions of personal reflection from her mind and credits all 36 panel members as “leaders” who “died with their boots on” during their 1-15 to 1-12 triumph over Cork on Sunday.
Nothing left to chance however it came as a relief but no surprise to the four-time Allstar that the Tribeswomen got over the line as she reveals that they knew they had “worked hard and we had the belief that if we worked hard, we'd win and that’s what we did.”
A special moment for Sarah Dervan! The only lady ever to lift the O’Duffy Cup twice for Galway! https://t.co/J1UP1bEZ1d
— Official Galway Camogie (@GalwayCamogie96) September 12, 2021
A goal in the 48th minute from Katrina Mackey changed the landscape of the fixture, putting The Rebels in the driving seat at 1-11 to 0-11 but the response from Galway is perhaps what saw them victorious upon the final whistle and put last year’s loss in the rear view mirror.
“You can only control how you react” says Dervan.
“In years gone by we reacted the wrong way and this year we said no matter what Cork throw at us we are going to react the way we want to.”
“We drove on to get the next point which kind of put a little bit of belief back in us. We dug really deep and every single one of those girls they fought with their hearts, and we’re so delighted to be on the right side of it.”
Keen to spread the plaudits amongst every contributor, the 33-year-old also acknowledges the role manager Cathal Murray and his backroom team played in the journey.
Galway captain Sarah Dervan and manager Cathal Murray reflect on a hard-fought All-Ireland win against Cork #rtegaa #camogie #Galway #Cork pic.twitter.com/NFRt58ADcM
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) September 12, 2021
“Our management team are unbelievable, and they have brought Galway camogie to an elite level with the work they do behind the scenes.”
“Robbie Lane has been exceptional, our S&C coach and Cathal always demands the best for us. We always get fed, we always get treated exactly the way any county hurling team would and I think that's huge.
“Because of them, that’s why we’re here.”
Gameweek bringing with it its’ talking points and drama, the Galway girls never let the looming Orla Cronin elephant in the room effect their preparation, instead chosing to focus on themselves and what they could “bring to the table.”
“Like I said earlier you can only control what you do, so if she got off she got off, if she didn’t she didn’t” the March 2022 bride to be says.
“You kind of distract yourself from all that noise and just focus on the ball, the game and how you play, and that’s what we did.”
Maroon is the colour, delight for these young camogs of the future seeing their @GalwayCamogie96 heroes lift the O Duffy Cup in @CrokePark @OfficialCamogie by @irishphotohugh pic.twitter.com/JzLhcX2sEZ
— irishphotoexplorer (@irishphotohugh) September 13, 2021
Amid changed circumstances from the empty Croke Park 2020’s final took place in Dervan believes the reinstated crowd was a welcome comeback to the surrounding.
“I suppose last year when we ran out it was silence, and you could hear yourselves in the games but out there today there was huge noise” she says.
“It was fantastic to have all the supporters back and see all the kids there. To have them at games and for them to see us winning it’s great for them and huge for the game.”
“It was a massive game of camogie and it brought it to another level. It’s great for kids to be able to see that and witness it firsthand and hopefully it will be them some day.”