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Sarah Dervan: Other teams 'close' to breaking Cork and Kilkenny dominance

The Galway full-back has suggested that the top two wont contest a third All Ireland final in a row this year.

Dervan poses at the launch of the Liberty Insurance All Ireland Camogie Championships.
Dervan poses at the launch of the Liberty Insurance All Ireland Camogie Championships.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

GALWAY’S SARAH DERVAN believes that the gap between camogie’s heavyweights Cork and Kilkenny and other counties is getting smaller.

The 2013 All-Ireland winner was also part of the Galway team that lost in the 2015 decider at the hands of the Leesiders, the last time another team outside the top two reached the final.

The Rebels and the Cats have contested three of the last four finals.

The four-time All Star will captain Galway for the first time in the championship against Clare on Saturday and cited Galway’s comeback against Cork in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final as evidence of how close they are to the champions.

“We are close to it (their level), we have been,” she said, speaking at the launch of the Liberty Insurance All Ireland Championships.

“In the (All-Ireland) semi-final last year, Cork took it to us in the first half and I think they were beating us by six points at half time but we came back. We kind of got a new lease of life in the second half and pushed them to a point in the end.

“We are thereabouts but it’s to break that barrier, I think it’s to get over the mental thing of beating Cork and Kilkenny and hopefully we can be strong and physical and get over it.”

The full-back suggested that there was a mental barrier to facing the top two that Galway and other counties have rarely been able to overcome, but she feels that teams are a lot closer to that level this year.

“You always know Cork and Kilkenny are going to bring their ‘A’ game, you’re always going to know that.

“You always have to be at 100% to get the better of them, but I think this year there’s an awful lot more teams putting their hands up.

“You’ve Offaly, you’ve Clare and you’ve Tipperary (that are improving), there’s a lot more tough games this year I think.

“Look, god knows it could be somebody different in the All-Irelands this year. Cork and Kilkenny are very strong, we’ll see how it goes.”

Orla Cronin and Sarah Dervan Dervan in action against Cork's Orla Cronin in last year's All Ireland semi-final. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Galway have been drawn in a competitive group alongside Kilkenny, Clare, Limerick and Waterford and will be hoping for a third place finish at the least to see them into an All-Ireland quarter-final. A first-place finish would put Galway straight through to the semi-final stage.

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Their opener against Clare in Pearse Stadium on Saturday at 5pm will be part of a double-header with the Galway men’s Leinster SHC clash with Dublin and Dervan insists that her team are not looking beyond Saturday’s clash.

“Clare now is the first round, so that’s Saturday. We won’t really look beyond that game.

“Clare are going to be very strong and physical so we have to bring our ‘A’ game definitely, to try to get the better of them.

“We’ll take it step by step, game by game. We’ll see what we can learn from every game and hopefully progress in the Championship.”

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