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Aodh Dervin: Shelbourne’s dynamic midfielder on Damien Duff and leaving home for Tolka Park

Aodh Dervin

Aodh Dervin has played an important role for Shelbourne this season.

In the midst of Damien Duff‘s arrival as Shelbourne boss, not as many heads were turned by the slew of new arrivals to the club during the League of Ireland off-season, with Aodh Dervin being one.

Joining from Longford Town, Dervin was a local hero in the Midlands, but his debut campaign in the 2021 Premier Division could not have gone any worse.

Rather than defying the odds and staying up, Longford were relegated in limp fashion, succumbing to their fate with almost a month of the season still to play.

Aodh Dervin

Just two weeks after Town were relegated, Duff took charge of Shels, leading to a series of events that led to Dervin making the move to the capital on a full-time basis.

And now, the dynamic midfielder is a key man in the Reds’ midfield, with Duffer’s side just after recording four wins on the trot.

“I don’t think there is anyone else training the way we are..”

“It’s going well,” he explains when speaking to Pundit Arena. “We knew we had to get some wins [against teams] around us especially, but you couldn’t ask for better with four wins in a row.

“It is early doors, and we just have to keep it going by game, like we have been. We’ll see where that takes us.”

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Last year, Dervin was part of a Longford side that won just three times all season, with Shels eclipsing that in their recent surge.

“That’s what we lacked last year [at Longford], and we didn’t have that run of games. I don’t know what the reasoning for that was, but even this year I feel like when we have a run of games, we are going to get results out of something.

“I’m happy enough with it [my form], but I know that things can still get better. I know that myself, and I think I will being around a full-time set-up training every day.

“I don’t think there is anyone else training the way we are, so I think that will help me. But I’m loving it.

“I said when I left Longford I wanted a new challenge and full-time football and I got that. I couldn’t be more happy with how things have gone so far.”

Shelbourne calling.

Dervin’s move to the Reds was an impromptu one nonetheless.

Out of contract at the end of last season, the tough tackling midfielder was set to try his arm at the PFAI out of contract camp, but before he did, he got an unexpected tip off from current Shels skipper Luke Byrne, leading to his move to Tolka Park.

“It came through Luke Byrne,” he explains. “I was going to do the PFAI out of contract training camp, and I got speaking to Lukey. It just went from that.

“The gaffer texted me then, and then it took a bit longer than I thought. But once it was done I was delighted..

“I was in work at the time [when the text landed], and I thought one of the lads were messing with me. They were away somewhere and I thought they were drunk, so I thought there was something going on!

“But it was the real deal, and I’m happy that it was.”

“It’s just unbelievable, every week..”

In linking up with Shels, Dervin not only had to part ways with his old job in Longford, he also had to leave the town in which he grew up.

Alongside that, he has also been exposed to the ferocity of League of Ireland football in the capital with derbies galore for Shels following their return to the Premier Division.

“You would have your loyal fans at Longford, and they were great. But when you go to Tolka on the first night of the season.. There was a huge crowd, and you have all these derbies and big games that are selling out week after week.

“It is probably more exposure, and it is something that I’m not used to even though I have played a good few games, but I haven’t played enough of them.

“It’s just unbelievable, every week. If the games go flat, you have those fans who put the life back into the game. I know it’s a cliché, but it does help.”

He adds: “The teams in Dublin eat and sleeps League of Ireland football, and then in Longford you have the GAA, and other things.

“League of Ireland football is not supported [as well], but that’s the main difference with it. The numbers that the fan groups come out with every week. It is something that took me by surprise alright.”

Another Dublin Derby.

And this weekend, Dervin has another big Dublin Derby to contend with, as Shelbourne make the trip south to take on Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium.

With a win, the Reds could move to within a point of the European places, even if the size of the task is great.

“They got a late goal against us this year to win, so it would be nice to get them. But we know how good they are. We know that we have to prepare and recover for them.

“We are going to focus on ourselves and whatever they bring, hopefully we will be ready for, which I do think we will be.”

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