Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Midfield maestro Moran determined to stand tall for Mayo

Barry Moran has managed to reinvent himself and has become a pivotal figure in Mayo's midfield
Barry Moran has managed to reinvent himself and has become a pivotal figure in Mayo's midfield
Anthony Thompson's workrate has ensured that he is a key part of Jim McGuinness' side
US President Barrack Obama, whose ancesters came from Mayo, supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Ballybofey shop window, Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Donegal Town shops. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
One of the more novel ways Donegal fans are showing their support for the county team ahead of this weekends All Ireland Final. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 20.09.12
A giant bear is just one of the more inventive ways Donegal fans are showing their support for the county team ahead of this weekends All Ireland Final. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 20.09.12
Donegal fans, Gertrude Kelly, Anthony McLaighlin and Marian Kelly pictured in Malin ahead of this weekends All Ireland final. PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 19.9.12
Two sheep outside Malin which have been dyed in Donegal County colours ahead of this weekends all Ireland Final and one dyed with the red and green colours of County Mayo. PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 19.9.12
A message painted on a field outside Malin village in County Donegal refering to Jim McGuinness, manager of the All Ireland finalists. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 19.9.12
The Carman's Bar outside Muff, County Donegal which has been painted in the county colours ahead of this weekends all Ireland Final. PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 19.9.12
Muff businessman Peter McLaughlin whose business Donegal Signs, has boomed in the days leading up to this weekends All Ireland Final. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 19.9.12
Supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Ballybofey Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Donegal Town. Picture Margaret McLaughlin © please by-line
Supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Donegal Town. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Ballybofey Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, with the celebration cake in a Donegal Town bakery. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Donegal Town. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
A flag seller sets out his wares for Donegal's All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Ballybofey Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park 26/8/2012Cork vs Donega lDonegal's Mark McHugh celebrates the final whistle
Donegal Football Press Night, Jacksons Hotel, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal 4/9/2012 Paddy McGrath
Pacemaker Press 14/9/2012 A painted Caravan outside Bundoran in Co Donegal
Pacemaker Press 14/9/2012 From L-R Phelim Brady, Declan Breslin and Tom McHugh and Conor Cassidy with a painted car in Donegal Town
Pacemaker Press 14/9/2012 Declan Breslin with a painted car in Donegal Town
Pacemaker Press 14/9/2012 The scotsman Bar in Donegal Town
Pacemaker Press 14/9/2012 Catriona Ward from Dungloe in Co Donegal
Pacemaker Press 14/9/2012 A painted Car outside Bundoran in Co Donegal
Support from the Garda for the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
The Diamond in Donegal Town where the team will return to following their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
One of the messages of support in Letterkenny County Donegal as fans show their support for the county team ahead of this weekends All Ireland Final. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 20.09.12
A good luck message spelt out in white sand bags which dominates the hills around Malin village in County Donegal ahead of this weekends All Ireland Final. Picture Martin McKeown. Inprespics.com.
County Donegal GAA fan Fiona McHenry from Moville. PIcture Martin Mckeown. Inpresspics.com. 19.9.12
A woman passes a mural supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Donegal Town. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Donegal Town. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ©
Supporting the Donegal team for their All Ireland Final clash against Mayo, in Donegal Town. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ©
County Donegal GAA fan Robert Bredin from Moville. PIcture Martin Mckeown. Inpresspics.com. 19.9.12
Stones mark out the Malin Head community's support and confidence that the County Donegal team will win the All Ireland Final. Picture Martin Mckeown. Inpresspics.com. 19.9.12
Donegal's Jim McGuinness is congratulated with fans
Cork vs Donegal Donegal fans Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer
Bredagh Breslin from Creeslough, Co. Donegal beside a mural of Jim McGuinnessMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Kieran Murray
Mark McHugh fulfils a vital role at |the heart of Donegal’s tactical blueprint

Coming off the pitch in Longford after a qualifier defeat two years ago, Mayo's Barry Moran never expected to get anywhere near an All-Ireland final in his career.

“We knew we’d let ourselves down and let the county down, simple as that,” the giant midfielder from Castlebar Mitchells reflected.

“It still annoys me when it is brought up because of the fact that we let everyone involved down.

“To say that we’d be in an All-Ireland Final 24 months later, at the time if someone offered that to me I would have taken their hand off.”

When James Horan was appointed as manager in October of that year, nobody would have blamed him if he cleared the decks and started again with a different set of players.

Yet, astonishingly, nine of that team that started against Longford also started against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.

While the finger of suspicion would inevitably see the difference as being the change in management from John O'Mahony, team captain Andy Moran — himself ruled out of the final with a cruciate injury sustained in the quarter-final against Down — felt that 2010 was a very good year in terms of development, a view shared by Barry.

“I 100% agree. When you look back on it now it made lads more hardened. It highlighted to everyone the level of work and commitment and training that needs to go on to make sure you don’t reach that low.

“In hindsight it definitely was a year that built character in us, more so than knocking us down.”

Moran himself has needed to change his approach and adapt his body in order to become the pivotal figure he is for Mayo now.

Last year, injury kept him out of the panel, but an impressive showing in the club Championship was enough for Horan to recall him.

“I had to make sure that if I got an opportunity to play for Mayo again, that I took it. I put in good enough performances that allowed me to get back in.

“It just shows the character of James Horan as well. He brought me back in, he stood by his word. A lot of people would say that they’d look at matches and bring you in if you are playing well and you never hear from them again.

“But a couple of days after the county final James was onto me and I haven’t looked back since.”

And while Moran is glad that Mayo came back for him, Mayo are glad to have a player of his power back.

His midfield partnership with Aidan O'Shea is potentially the best in the game, and Moran's duel with Neil Gallagher in winning kickouts will be absolutely crucial in determining the destination of Sam on Sunday.

It just goes to show, that the dream is never over. Not for Mayo, not for Barry Moran.

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