You can visualise the images. The whistle blows and while some players chose to run around with glee desperate to embrace, others fall to the ground in utter relief and jubilation in their own bubble of confinement. Camera flashes ensue, as do the roars of fans and the havoc of searching for friends and family amongst the masses of Croke Park before obligations persist and they are drawn towards the Hogan Stand to see their mighty captain lift the cup they have been ever so longing for.
These moments, as well as the mandatory dressing room sing alongs and comradery of the ‘we done it’ juncture with teammates are exactly what makes all the hardship of training and commitment worth it to Galway’s keeper Sarah Healy.
Galway have done it 🏆!
They’re the @Officialcamogie All-Ireland Senior Champions for 2021 🏑 Their last O’Duffy cup lift in 2019 🎉
Final score: @HerSportDotIE
🔴 @CorkCamogie 1-12
🟣 @GalwayCamogie96 1-15👇 pic.twitter.com/czqf6Yx0o7
— Alanna Cunnane (@acunnane10) September 12, 2021
Covid restrictions impeded much of this fanfare last year, and while Galway found themselves the other side of the festivities that time around the “eerie” nature of proceedings put today’s noise into stark perspective for the St Thomas’s forward.
“It was dark, it was cold, we lost, so then it was ten times worse. But just to have family back…winning an All-Ireland is special, but the 20 minutes afterwards is something else” she says.
Galway are the All-Ireland champions, winning it in style with Orlaith McGrath sealing it.
“Even just the atmosphere coming out and the screams, I could barely hear anyone talking to me and they had to be shouting in my ear whereas it was eerie last December.”
The 2019 All Star felt something in her waters approaching throw in that it was going to be there day, citing that she knew coming up that [they] were going to win” and that she “just had that feeling” but attributes this current squad of Tribeswomen’s success to much more than just a good omen.
Hailing manager Cathal Murray’s tactics, backroom team selection and general character she believes he has “brought Galway camogie way further than it ever was.”
Best of luck to Galway Camogie in the All-Ireland today, and especially to Sarah Healy, Galway goalkeeper and GMIT student! From all of us in GMIT #GaillimhAbù @GalwayCamogie96 @OfficialCamogie pic.twitter.com/S8g9TPnVFv
— GMIT (@GMITOfficial) September 12, 2021
“We were always knocking on semi-final stages and struggling to get to the final. And even if we got to the final, we were struggling” Healy says.
“He just came in and the people around him that he brought in, like Robbie Lane have done a massive amount of work with us.”
“We believe in our camp that we are a great team. We think of ourselves like that, so from the loss of last year, we knew we were good enough to come back. We knew we were a good team.”
Revealing no desire to hone back the reigns just yet, the netminder and now two time O’Duffy cup winner marks out that while they have brought them to three finals in the as many years the team are confident they “can go much further as well.”
But that’s next year’s problem,now’s time to prolong those 20 minutes as far into the coming days and weeks as possible.
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