GALWAY CAMOGIE CAPTAIN Sarah Dervan says her side are already focusing their energies on the All-Ireland final after dethroning back-to-back champions Cork at the weekend. 

Sarah Dervan alongside Cork captain Gemma O’Connor before their All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Tribeswomen edged out Cork by just one point after a thrilling encounter at the Gaelic Grounds to set-up a meeting with Kilkenny on 8 September. 

It was a repeat of their last-four meeting at the same venue two years ago, with Paudie Murray’s side winning on that occasion. But Galway held firm against the Munster champions this time around, prompting some euphoric scenes at full-time. 

This will be their first All-Ireland decider since 2015, but Dervan insists that the team have already recovered from the shock of derailing a Cork side that was seeking three-in-a-row.

We had a few drinks Saturday night but it was put to bed after that,” the Galway full-back tells The42 of the mild celebrations which were followed by a return to training on Monday.

“The match was so close and intense but you wake up the next morning [and] you’re back grounded again.

Epic scenes! Galway players celebrate after dethroning the All-Ireland champions Cork. pic.twitter.com/SB4Grg621e

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“Everyone keeps telling us it’s a great match. Anything could have happened to change the game, just delighted that we came out the right side.”

There’s another step to go, we’ve nothing really achieved yet.”

Galway led for much of the battle with Cork and were ahead by one point at the half-time break. But it was the defending champions who scored the only goal of the tie, following a hand-passed effort from Julia White on 18 minutes.

That score appeared to be the starting point of Cork’s charge to victory. Galway have tasted defeat in the last three All-Ireland semi-finals, but they refused to be denied this time and outscored their opponents by six points to one to regain control of proceedings.

“It was about how you react to things,” says Dervan.

“Everything’s not gonna go your way the whole game. Everyone’s going to get their purple patch but it’s how you react to that.

“You answer questions of the other team and thankfully we came out and scored the next six points which was fantastic.” 

The victorious Galway team after winning the Division 1 title earlier this year.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Galway defeated Ann Downey’s Kilkenny in the National League final earlier this year, a victory which ended the Cats’ four-in-a-row bid.

Overcoming Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final certainly gives Galway another psychological boost heading into the final. Dervan spoke to stalwarts Gemma O’Connor and Orla Cotter after the game, where she was reminded of the pain that comes with losing at the penultimate stage.

“The heartbreak that was on their faces was unbelievable.

You do feel sorry because you’ve been there and to lose an All-Ireland semi-final by a point is a hard place to be in.”

Dervan credits Cathal Murray’s management team for instilling a belief in the players that they can win in high-stakes situations, but that they must now prepare to bring that confidence to Croke Park next month.

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“We were sort of a hard luck story,” Dervan explains.

“We knew we were capable of getting there but we were falling at the semi-final stages and stuff like that the last couple of years.

“It’s 2015 since we were in the All-Ireland last and we’re delighted to be through but at the end of the day, we’re only through to Croke Park. There’s another big game and another 60 minutes ahead of us.

Cathal Murray celebrates after defeating Cork.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

 ”We kind of just said ‘let’s enjoy the next few hours’ and then it was recovery the next morning and getting back into training. It’s a great thing to be training for an All-Ireland final.

“A big step has to be improvement again if we were to stick with Kilkenny. They’ve been in the last three All-Irelands, they won in 2016 and they’ve massive experience behind them. 

There’s no point just getting to Croke Park if we’re not going to go there to win.”

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