DEREK SAVAGE Galway footballer
DEREK (28) is in his ninth season on the county panel. With his club, Cortoon Shamrocks, he has won two Intermediate Championships (1999 and 2003). His favourite position is full-forward, although he is more often selected in the corner for Galway. He has won two Connacht minor and two Connacht U21 medals, five Connacht seniors, two All-Ireland seniors and a Sigerson Cup with
DEREK (28) is in his ninth season on the county panel. With his club, Cortoon Shamrocks, he has won two Intermediate Championships (1999 and 2003). His favourite position is full-forward, although he is more often selected in the corner for Galway. He has won two Connacht minor and two Connacht U21 medals, five Connacht seniors, two All-Ireland seniors and a Sigerson Cup with UCD (1996). He has two International Rules caps, has been a regular for Connacht for six seasons and has one Vodafone All-Star award. He is an electronic engineer with CEL in Tuam. What was your 'welcome to the inter-county scene' moment?
A nice dig in the ribs from Kenneth Mortimer in the first round of the 1998 Connacht Championship against Mayo.
Apart from your own, which team is currently playing the most attractive football?
What does football mean to you?
Years ago it meant absolutely everything to me but I suppose as you get older other aspects of your life take on more importance. I got married this year so everything can't revolve around football anymore.
Did you ever have an idol, sporting or otherwise?
Not really, but I do admire Tiger Woods. It's amazing that when he's in the zone he's practically unbeatable.
Before a game, are you pumped-up or laidback?
I always found that I can get better focus on the game by remaining calm and not getting too worked up. Roaring, shouting and banging the table before club games can still do the trick though.
Have you ever fallen foul of your current or previous manager?
Outside football what is your proudest achievement?
Marrying my wife Catriona this year - and convincing her to change her name to Savage.
Most memorable sporting moment?
All-Ireland win in 1998 - unforgettable.
Your worst or most embarrassing sporting moment?
Mis-hit penalty against Tyrone in 2004 - a game we went on to lose.
Moment in your life when sport was put into perspective?
Death of Cormac McAnallen.
What most distinguishes a county player from a club player?
It can vary from player to player but I have seen a lot of guys who could and should have made it at county level but didn't. Focus, dedication and talent, all together of course, are the main distinguishing qualities.
Who is the best club player who hasn't made your county team?
David Warde from Cortoon - but he may get his chance yet.
Is it necessary to be ruthless to be successful at county level?
Yes. County players' personal lives have to suffer if they are to make it and be successful. You have to be ruthless in putting training and lifestyle first, ahead of social life, holidays etc. Although, I've seen a fair few lads who could mix the training and the social life to good effect.
How many times have you been sent off in your career and why?
Once - and I was exonerated by the GAC. I was sent off for a supposed late tackle on Eamonn Doherty of Donegal in a league game in the depths of winter in Ballybofey, but in fairness to Eamonn he came all the way to Croke Park on the Wednesday to vouch for me. That was a really generous gesture that I won't forget.
What is the most annoying thing an opponent has done to you in the course of a game?
I have had my face gouged in a national league game.
If there was a transfer market who would be your target and why?
Darragh Ó Sé - he'd be a huge addition to us.
Are there any perks involved in playing for the county?
Not particularly - in fairness we get some training gear and boots but the biggest perk would be playing in big games in front of big crowds. The GAA, though, can't expect players to continue on just for love of the game and pride in the county jersey.
Has the backdoor system outlived its usefulness. If so, your alternative?
Yes, although I shouldn't complain. It worked for us in 2001. I would favour a league type format for the All-Ireland with group stages to guarantee every team a minimum of three games. The back door system causes too much disruption to club football in the counties involved.
Which four sportspeople would you like to invite to dinner and why?
Paul McGrath, Muhammad Ali, John Daly and Tiger. Paul McGrath and John Daly must have some legendary stories and would make great dinner (and after dinner) company. Muhammad Ali in his prime to find out if he really was as quick with the tongue as in the ring and Tiger for the more serious conversation.
In an All-Ireland final, which referee would you prefer?