ACCELERATE, decelerate, stop.
This was what Brendan Moloney's frustrating journey from his family home in Beaufort to the Killarney Athletic FC grounds in Ferndale consisted of on Friday afternoon. He was greeted by constant, stop-start traffic as he crossed Killarney town to make a short trip back to where his football career all began. The timing was wrong though, he was going to be late. The stop-start traffic didn't allow him build up any momentum.
Moloney's short car trip was, in one sense, just a reflection of some typical summer gridlock in Killarney, but it could also be a metaphor for the frustrating stop-start career he had endured at Nottingham Forest, where timing wasn't on his side either.
The famous double European Cup winners, Forest, have such high expectations and expected promotion every year, which has resulted in them having had seven different first-team managers try their luck in the hot-seat at The City Ground in the seven years that Moloney spent there.
"The timing for me there (at Forest) was just unbelievable. Anytime a new manager comes in, when you look through the team, you're the youth team product and maybe you're looked at a bit differently. I have come through the youth system whereas another player may have cost the club a million or more, then they will play ahead of you. So I would have to wait my chance and it was like that for years," said the Beaufort man, before going on to explain that he wasn't able to build up much momemtum as he never got a sustained run of consecutive games to enable this to happen.
"First of all it was where it all began for me. I had plenty of really good training and coaching. I never got a run of 20 or 30 games that I needed, it was just constant change. I got the head down every year and maybe I think I deserved a few more chances in that way, but that's not being bitter or anything. That's football for you. It happens, you got to just move on and make the best out of it that you can," said Moloney.
Colin Calderwood gave Moloney his debut, coming off the bench against Gillingham in March 2007. He played quite a few games under Calderwood, along with going out on two short loan spells to Chesterfield and Rushden & Diamonds, before Calderwood's eventual sacking.
"Then Billy Davis came in and pushed that all to one side. He was there for two years and I played a few games under him but never really broke through, he was more interested in the experienced side of things. I played the last ten games of one season. I played in the play-offs when we got beaten by Swansea but then he got sacked at the end of that season so I had to start again," added the former U21 international.
During Billy Davis' reign as Forest boss, the full-back went out on a six month loan to Notts County at the start of the 09/10 season, where he excelled and won a League Two medal. The cross-town rivals were very impressed with his performances in the 19 games he played and tried to make the move a permanent one in January but failed to as the Meadow Lane outfit were struck with a transfer embargo.
Instead he ended up going out on loan to Championship side Scunthorpe United, where he only managed to play three games before injurying his medial knee ligament, which sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Following Davis' sacking, former England manager Steve McClaren came in but only lasted 10 games before being replaced by Steve Cotterill. The latter lasted just nine months, two and a half of which Forest failed to score in.
Irishman Sean O'Driscoll then stepped into the hot-seat, and essentially was the man to re-ignite Moloney's career.
"Then they started with Sean O'Driscoll, who gave me a run of games but then he got sacked at New Years. He knew my situation at Forest, if there was one to be sacrificed it was always me or another young lad there, that was always the case. He (had) agreed to let me go in January, so he understood my situation which was quite helpful but sure he got sacked so it was (a case of) starting again from scratch. So when (Alex) McLeish came in I went to see him and told him what was agreed. To be fair he was very good about it, he understood the situation, he said, 'go off and get the fresh start you need' and that is what I did," said the former Killarney Athletic and Belvedere underage star.
Moloney was finally free to look for a new club and was presented with an opportunity to try and get some regular first-team football.
"Luckily enough Sean O'Driscoll was at Bristol (City) so he signed me within a week of being there [in January 2013]. When a manager wants you it's always a good feeling, it gives you confidence," said Moloney, adding that he didn't have any real trouble settling into his new club, some 140 miles away from Nottingham.
"Going to Bristol was fine, because I was looking for a move with a while. I knew two of the lads there and the manager, so that made it easier. (Although) the first few days going anywhere is always a bit like...you don't know what to expect, new lads, new envrionment. After a few days, like anything, you settle in and get to know all the lads."
The defender was optimistic about his new team's chances of survival when he moved as they were only half-way through the season. However, things didn't work out as he would have hoped for.
"We had just over half the games gone when I signed and we had enough opportunities to get out of the relegation zone. We went on a good run, we got within a point or two, but we had a really bad Easter and that put us back. We just couldn't pick up the results we needed and results dictate where you come, and the results weren't good enough so we have no compliants about going down," said Moloney, while he also described the empty feeling that relegation gives you.
"The last few games just drag out, with just a few games left you just want it to be over with. When you are struggling down there it is not as enjoyable. You could draw a game, play really well and come off and just think that's not really good enough because we need the win," reflected Moloney.
The Beaufort man loves to get home at every opportunity, and last years' international breaks allowed him great opportunities to get home for short weekend breaks. Moloney will not have this luxury next season as League One clubs do not get any international breaks so he tried to make the most of his summer at home.
During his six weeks off the defender was over and back to England to complete a small operation to rectify a re-occuring injury, commonly known as the 'sportman's groin'. The operation only required three weeks rest so it will not get in the way of the defender getting straight into the essential pre-season training.
"The first couple of weeks are tough, it creates the platform for the season. Every pre-season is different. I expect the first two weeks to be really tough, and then you're into the friendly games for three weeks and then the season starts," said Moloney, who has set a number of goals for the season, and is hoping to add to his 17 appearances he played with the Robins last season.
"On a personal point-of-view, (I want) just to keep myself fit and play as many games as I can and have a high level of performance. More importantly is to get promoted and back to the Championship," said Moloney.
It hasn't always been a smooth journey for the Kerry man, but as he heads away from his old playground at Woodlawn the traffic seems a little lighter and more negotiable. A positive portent for the next stage of his soccer career, perhaps?