Olivia Divilly starred for Kilkerrin-Clonberne on Saturday. Tyler Miller/SPORTSFILE
holy grail

'It's something that you dream of, to win an All-Ireland with your club in Croke Park'

Olivia Divilly on Kilkerrin-Clonberne’s historic success and how the team ‘fight like cat and dog, but love each other so much’.

LAST UPDATE | 12 Dec 2022

OLIVIA DIVILLY SAID it best earlier this year.

“If I was in Australia when the girls won the club All-Ireland, I don’t think any money in the world would have made me happy,” the Kilkerrin-Clonberne star told The42 in June.

One of the country’s top forwards, Divilly is firmly on the AFLW radar. She excelled at a Combine in Melbourne in 2019, and has garnered significant interest since. But the 26-year-old has remained on home soil, throwing her lot in with Galway and Kilkerrin-Clonberne.

Back-to-back All-Ireland senior club titles in the same calendar year certainly warrant the choice — along with two Player of the Match awards after 0-5 hauls in both deciders.

On Saturday, Divilly and co. were toasting national success once more, having won their maiden crown in January. This time, it was in Croke Park, with the ladies football club finals held at HQ for the very first time.

“It’s just amazing,” she told The42 afterwards. “Like I said in my speech earlier, it’s something that you dream of as a child, to win an All-Ireland final with your club in Croke Park.

“It’s just amazing, it’s so special and it’s something that we’re going to remember forever. It’s the first ladies club football finals to be played in Croke Park. It’s our second All-Ireland in 12 months, so it’s just great to be part of those historic moments.”

And to be alongside her family must have made it even sweeter.

Divilly’s younger sisters, Siobhán and Niamh both played their parts — the former impressing in midfield, and the latter coming off the bench — while their father, Michael, is involved with the management team.

“It’s great. It’s lovely to to do with your sisters, but I think, from one to 30, we’re all so, so close. We’re like sisters, we fight like cat and dog but we love each other so much! We’re all so close. I think that’s what makes the bond so special, we can give criticism in a [good way] and it’s always received quite positively.”

The cats and dogs fought all the way on Saturday, their 0-13 to 0-7 win over fellow heavyweights Donaghmoyne richly deserved. Kilkerrin dominated in every facet, the 0-4 to 0-0 lead they built up within the first five minutes setting the tone for the day.

It was a real champions’ performance from Willie Ward’s side, the 10 in-a-row Galway and five in-a-row Connacht champions expertly dealing with Hannah Noone’s second-half sin-bin.

Ward revealed afterwards that pretty much everything went to plan, and Divilly echoed her manager’s sentiments in the bowels of the Hogan Stand.

“We got a good start. I think we got four points up. We felt like we were comfortable throughout, but we still knew that if they got a goal, it would have brought them right back into the game.

eva-noone-pulls-up-with-cramp-during-the-celebrations Eva Noone pulls up with cramp during the celebrations. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

“We knew what Donaghmoyne were going to bring from the start. They’ve won five All-Irelands in the last number of years themselves. We played them last year as well. They’re a fantastic team, and they have talent throughout the pitch. So we knew exactly what they were going to bring and when we went down to 14 players in the second half, we just had to dig a little bit deeper and just be patient and composed throughout.

“Having those few points [cushion] made us feel a little bit more comfortable throughout. We have been on the other side as well, where we have lost games that we probably should have won. We knew that we had to be composed and we knew how dangerous Donaghmoyne would be if they got the ball — the importance of holding onto possession and to create the chances. We missed some chances today as well, we probably could have won by more as well but we’re happy. One point would have been enough.”

Divilly laughs that they’ll celebrate for the month, through the Christmas after kicking off the festivities in Dublin on Saturday night. They continued down motorway to the parishes of Kilkerrin and Clonberne yesterday, setting the tone for what’s ahead.

“We have the best supporters in the world, they will have all the fires and everything out,” Divilly beamed. “We’ll enjoy the week and the Christmas and get back to it then again in the New Year with Galway.”

And, of course, with club. A three-in-a-row bid will surely keep her firmly on these shores.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel