We might never get this chance again, warns Moran
Published 13/02/2016 | 02:30
Castlebar Mitchels' Barry Moran believes Crossmaglen's fearsome reputation will help focus minds when the sides come face to face in the All-Ireland club SFC semi-final later today.
And while the Mayo side will respect the south Armagh men, Moran pointed out that they have taken out some of the competition's big guns before, including reigning champions Corofin in the Connacht final late last year.
"If you look at this year with the club, and even two years ago when we got a run, we came across Corofin back then as well - and Dr Crokes. . . They were all favourites for the All-Ireland at the time and we got over them, so reputation. . . I think it actually helps us," Moran (below) explains.
"It allows us to keep our heads down and work hard and hopefully get out there and play well and do what you have to do."
Castlebar are pulling from largely the same side that reached the St Patrick's day showpiece two years ago. They went down to a Diarmuid Connolly-inspired St Vincent's that day, having lost one of their most influential players, Richie Feeney, to a black card in the early stages.
However, Moran won't use that as an excuse and insists his side weren't good enough on the day.
"We were there or thereabouts for a while but we didn't deserve to win it and we'd be the first ones to say that," he says.
"St Vincent's were the much better team, they were probably set up a bit better and we were new to the scene in the sense that that was our first county final in 20 years and then we went to an All-Ireland final.
"I don't know if we embraced it as much as we probably should have from the players' point of view but it's something we'll learn from and hope that we get an opportunity to rectify that this year."
And Moran revealed the panel are keen to atone for that missed opportunity.
"You try learn from your experiences," he says. "Ask any club footballer around how many opportunities are you going to get to win a Connacht or provincial club and then go on to win an All-Ireland - we have already had one and we've missed it.
"I'll be quite honest with you, we've an All-Ireland semi-final coming up and we know if we don't take that opportunity we might never get it again," he continued.
"Nobody knows what's around the corner, you could lose a couple of players or you just go out of form and that's it, it's gone. So you have to take the opportunity when it comes around."