Having just retired following a decade and a half playing top-level Gaelic football, you could be forgiven for thinking that Andy Moran is suffering from a touch of the ‘post-retirement blues’.
However, as it transpires, he’s as affable as ever.
The Mayo man was in high spirits this afternoon as he sat down to discuss life as a recently-retired footballer as well as his new career as an up and coming coach.
Moran seems content in his decision to walk away following 15 seasons in the Mayo setup and why shouldn’t he be?
Having won eight Connacht titles, a Division 1 League title, two All-Stars and a Footballer of the Year award, on top of playing in five All-Ireland finals (he missed the 2012 decider), the Ballaghaderreen man will go down as a legend of the game.
He isn’t missing the preparation that comes with being a county-footballer but he is missing the craic. However, having followed through on his plans to go straight into coaching, he’s aware that being able to channel his love of the game down that avenue certainly helps.
“I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m not missing it at all in terms of the preparation, the body-fat tests, the nutrition. I’m not missing any of that,” said Moran.
“I was at the Mayo-Kerry game last week and a few other games and there wasn’t one part of me that was missing any part of the set-up, which is a good thing. Then the negative side is that you would miss the boys and the craic. I’d be naturally nosy by nature and I don’t know everything that’s going on. I don’t know who’s injured. And you don’t pry with the lads.
“So you do lose a tiny bit of contact along the way and you would miss that sort of thing. But, yeah, it’s been okay. I left it and I went back in coaching the Mayo U-20s and I’m doing a bit of coaching with my own club so I did fill the time. I had that planned in my head that when I’d leave I’d go straight into coaching. It has worked well for me and if someone came to me now looking for advice I would say don’t just let yourself go, go and do something and see how it goes. Because it’s worked well for me.”
As driven as ever, the 2017 Footballer of the Year doesn’t shy away from the fact that his ultimate goal is to be involved with the Mayo senior setup one day. Working with teams has forever been on his radar and he’s giving himself five years to see if he can cut the mustard when it comes to coaching.
“It was always a thing I was going to try. It’s something I’d have really good respect for. I have massive respect for coaching in general because I don’t think anyone knows who’s going to be good at it.
“I’m going into coaching now and I’m giving myself five years and if I’m not good enough I’ll move along then because I genuinely don’t know. I did the U-20s and thought I did some things really well and other things I’d be like, ‘Mmmm’. You’d know if you’re helping them out or not.
“I’ll go and assess and do a few things and come back and the goal is to be involved in your own county at senior level. But I’ll go away and do a few years somewhere else first before I go near that.”
As stated, Moran is clearly not allowing retirement to get him down. As well as coaching, he’s also thrown himself into the media world.
He admits to trying his hand at every medium in order to find out what he enjoys. Turns out, he enjoys them all. According to Moran, the beauty in punditry is how you can learn from other people by viewing the sport with a “different eye”.
However, while he’s enjoying dipping his toes into media, that doesn’t mean he’s the finished article just yet as he admits to having let his love of Mayo cloud his judgement just last weekend.
“I like watching football anyway. What I really like about Gaelic football is the actual Gaelic football. All the other stuff really annoys me and gets on top of me. So the one thing I actually enjoy is playing and watching it so I’d watch an awful lot of it anyway.
“There is work that goes into it, most certainly in terms of the background and giving people the right information. I’ve done a small bit, I did the local radio last week, did one TV [show], I did a bit of a preview on the National League and I’m just trying to work out what I like. I didn’t really want to commit to anything, I just wanted to see what I like and I’ve kind of liked them all.
“It’s a nice way to watch football. You definitely watch it with a different eye and as I said, you’d be really surprised what you learn from other people because I’d be very opinionated myself and then you hear other people’s opinions and how they see the game.
“Like, when I went to Jordanstown in 2007/2008, I was fascinated with how people from Tyrone, Down, Armagh viewed the game compared to us. Like, if you look at Mayo, we play with rushing wing-backs. So, you have Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Paddy Durcan, these boys. Then down in Kerry, they keep producing these mercurial corner-forwards, why is that? Why do we keep seeing different kind of styles and it’s the way people view the game. I’d be kind of fascinated with all that side of it so, I’m enjoying it.”
“It’s funny, last week doing the local radio station I got kind of caught up in it and my bias was definitely showing and I was shouting for Mayo but listen I think you get better and you learn from it, so it’s a bit of fun.”
McKeever Sports Brand Ambassadors Katie Power (Kilkenny), Conor McManus (Monaghan), Andy Moran (Mayo), Rian O’Neill (Armagh) and Hannah Looney (Cork) pictured at the brand’s GAA Licence Launch event today (Tuesday 10th March) in Croke Park, Dublin. For the first time, McKeever Sports has secured the full official GAA licensing suite, with the authority to manufacture official club and county playing teamwear for use on and off of the pitch.