Wednesday 28 September 2016

12 days of Kimmage: Paul chats to Kevin Moran

Over the festive period we'll be looking back on Paul Kimmage's big interviews in 2015. Here he talks to Dublin and Manchester United legend Kevin Moran on June 7.

Published 27/12/2015 | 13:56

Kevin Moran
Kevin Moran

A wet Sunday evening in September 1975. Two hours have passed since Kerry won the All-Ireland and he's sitting with some friends in Mulligan's of Poolbeg Street talking about the game.

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"That was brutal."

"We were shite!"

Kevin Moran is 19 years old and studying commerce at UCD.

Five months later he plays his first game for Dublin.

Seven months after that he wins his first All-Ireland.

Two years later he appears in his third All-Ireland final on a short break from Manchester where he plays for a team called United. "That's still the stat that amazes me most," he says.

We're sitting in the front room of his home in Altrincham talking about old times.

"Heffo."

"Stuttgart."

"Cagliari."

"Jack."

Kevin Moran as centre back for Dublin in 1981
Kevin Moran as centre back for Dublin in 1981

But mostly we're talking about the boy that evening in Mulligan's.

They don't make 'em like him any more.

* * * * *

Paul Kimmage: Let's turn back the clock 25 years for the World Cup showdown with England because that seems a logical place to start: the date is Saturday, May 26, 1990 and you're worried. This is how Jack (Charlton) recalled it in his 'World Cup Diary': Kevin Moran came to see me after training and said that he was pretty certain that he would be fit for Cagliari. He also asked me if I had made up my mind about my back four for the World Cup and I told him in all honesty that I hadn't. Do you remember that conversation?

Kevin Moran: I remember Jack finding out about fitness, whether I was fit, and I think it was certain in Jack's mind that Mick (McCarthy) was going to play and (the other place) was between Dave O'Leary and myself. I know he wasn't sure which way to go at that particular time but I think he might have asked Mick, and Mick kind of said, 'I would probably get on better with Kevin' and maybe that helped. More than likely it would have done.

PK: How did you feel about it?

KM: It's one of those things in football - you wait. I've a great saying that you don't cross bridges until you come to them: 'Why am I worried if I'm going to play or not play?' So I just had to wait and see what the outcome was, and no matter what it was you just had to take it. I played a lot more with Mick, we understood each other, but I knew whoever got in, unless it was a disaster of a result, would have the upper hand, which did happen.

PK: You were obviously desperate to play. I was digging through some old newspaper cuttings and came across this by David Walsh on the eve of the game: Touched by the fear that he might not be on the side to play England, Moran has not been himself and still there is so much respect for him.

KM: I can't remember, it was a long time ago. I wouldn't have had a fear factor about whether I was playing or not playing. I wasn't the type to mope around: 'Am I playing? Am I not playing?' I can't think I would have done that. How soon did I know? It wasn't days before the game but it wasn't an hour before the game either.

PK: I asked Mick about this last year and he said the England game in Stuttgart (Euro '88) would be his happiest memory; the England game in Cagliari was his proudest memory, and the World Cup quarter-final in Rome was the pinnacle of his career. How would you rate them?

Kevin Moran representing the Republic of Ireland
Kevin Moran representing the Republic of Ireland

KM: I've always said '88 was the biggest game.

PK: Really?

KM: Yeah.

PK: Why?

KM: It was our first time to qualify, the first major time to play against England in a big game; it was a neutral venue, we were underdogs and we beat them. So, I think the fact that it was the first one and the biggest one . . . yeah, the World Cup was bigger. Yeah, the England game at the World Cup was huge . . . but there wasn't the same atmosphere and buzz as there was in '88. It was a kind of dour night game . . .

PK: Tense.

KM: Yeah, I remember it being tense, very tense, and giving away a blatant penalty.

PK: Did you?

KM: Blatant.

PK: What happened?

KM: It was inside the box; Waddle came at me and does what Waddle does - bum, bum, bum - and I had my foot out and caught him completely. I remember the impact on my foot and going 'Jesus! That hurt!' But I was crafty, straight away the hands went back and the body went back as if I never touched him. (Laughs) And he's lying there in bits on the ground, "Ahhhh!" But I got away with it, and that was crucial.

PK: I was in the crowd that night, 1-1 felt like a good result.

Kevin Moran playing for Manchester United
Kevin Moran playing for Manchester United

KM: We felt it was a great result because you knew the group you were in, Holland, Egypt, and the last thing you wanted was to start with a defeat.

PK: Especially given the hype of the build-up?

KM: Oh yeah.

PK: Did you play against them in the friendly in '85 at Wembley?

KM: No.

PK: Did you play against them in the Euros after the World Cup?

KM: Yes, in Wembley (March, 1991), the one-all when Niall (Quinn) scored.

PK: That was a very good game.

KM: We were brilliant in that game . . . it's funny, I've never watched games. I've never watched any game back except that game, and I've not watched it all but there's a 20-minute spell where they cannot get outside their own box almost. I don't know whether you remember it? It accumulates with us getting the goal and just . . . the pressure we were putting them under.

PK: I find it interesting you've watched that again.

KM: Yeah.

PK: Why?

KM: The only other games I've ever watched are the All-Ireland '76 (final) and the '77 semi-final, and I've watched them umpteen times, I'd know every kick and every move. I've never watched the FA Cup final or any of my other games but those Gaelic football games were just so exciting.

PK: I heard an interview you gave to Off The Ball last year and you said '76 would be the game for you. And it didn't make sense to me.

KM: I've always tried to differentiate between the two. There's my soccer career and my Gaelic career, but when I'm pushed, and asked to pick one game it would be that one.

PK: You'd pick '76?

KM: Yeah.

PK: Would you?

KM: Yeah.

PK: Still?

KM: Yeah.

PK: That's amazing.

KM: Well, you were born in Dublin, you're from Dublin, you're representing your Dublin team and it's an All-Ireland final. It's your first ever, and you're playing Kerry, and there's a key to it as well - you've won! That's what it's about, you've won. We beat England (in Stuttgart) but we won nothing. And when you're at that level it's about winning.

PK: Yeah, sure. But you could also say, 'We're Irish, they're English'. You've got the history and the tradition and we go to Germany and beat them in the European Championships. That's a pretty big deal.

KM: Absolutely, a huge deal, and that's the reason '88 will always be bigger for me than '90 because it is about winning. And we beat them. Cagliari was a great result but it was one-all.

PK: What about (today's) game in Dublin? Any plans to go?

KM: No, not at the moment.

PK: What about the sense that it's not what it was?

KM: Why do you say that?

PK: Why do I say that? Just my own sense of . . . I remember the excitement there would have been about playing England 25 years ago and there's no sense of that now. It's just 'Hmmmm, yeah'. We don't have the same team now and that's a big part of it. That's all of it, I think.

KM: Yeah, I wanted you to say that and ironically you say 'we' but I think it's just as much 'they'.

PK: They don't have the same team.

KM: I think it's that as well. I think there's an element of (exhales) 'Piffff. Who's playing? Who's going to be there?' And I think it's because the game has changed so much over here. In our day there was eight or nine (Irish) players at United, Liverpool or Arsenal and people were easily able to identify with that. How many are there now? How many are playing in the Premier League? And the same goes for England. There are too many foreign players in the Premier League and as a result the English and Irish are not playing at that level with the Arsenals, the Chelseas and the Uniteds. That wasn't the case in our day.

* * * * *

1 Moran! Moran! Moran!

Ogie Moran was a schoolboy star with Gormanston in Meath. He played senior championship football in Kerry at the age of 16 and his schooldays ended with him inspiring Gormanston with an All-Ireland Colleges win. From the time he was swaddled in nappies, Ogie had the right stuff. He has a clear memory of his Gormanston school team going to Dublin in the early seventies to play against Drimnagh Castle School in Parnell Park. When the teams came out, Ogie, already a Kerry minor (as he would be for three years), heard the chant go up: Moran! Moran! Moran! A modest young man, Ogie was both embarrassed and gratified. The match had been in progress for a few minutes when Ogie realised that at any time the tousle-haired midfielder from Drimnagh castle won the ball, he provoked a massive cheer and more outbreaks of chanting. Moran! Moran! Moran! Kerry's greatest centre-forward had just met Dublin's greatest centre-back.

'Dublin v Kerry',

Tom Humphries

PK: Do you remember that game?

KM: I still see Ogie, we're close buddies still today, and yeah I remember the game with Gormanston but I'm not sure I remember the chanting. (laughs)

PK: It's a good story.

KM: Yeah, it is a good story but I think there may be a bit of poetic licence. I don't remember any schoolkids ever chanting, but I know where he's coming from with the story. Gaelic football came naturally to me; I gave it up and then started playing a bit again and within two or three months I was playing with Dublin.

PK: Talk to me about your formative years and your family, your father was a Leitrim man?

KM: Yeah, dad was from Ballinamore. Mum was from Monaghan, a placed called Bawn. There was eight of us: Brendan, the eldest, then Martin, Bernadette, Raymond, myself, and then Jim, Gerry and Maura.

PK: What brought your parents to Dublin?

KM: Not sure it was anything in particular except work probably. Dad worked in an insurance company, Royal Liver I think it was, and we had a shop in Meath Street which was called 'The Coconut.' They lived in Clontarf at one stage and then they moved to Rialto where I was born and lived up until about 11. Then we moved to the Long Mile Road where we had the house and shop together and I started secondary school in Drimnagh Castle.

PK: Your dad was a big football man?

KM: He was secretary of Seán McDermotts, and madly involved in that, and a big pal with John Timmons who played with the Dublin team in '63 and all that. So he was entrenched in Gaelic football and if I look back, my biggest regret is that he was never around to have seen, not so much the soccer, but to have seen the All-Ireland.

PK: When did he die?

KM: He died in '70. I was 13, nearly 14.

PK: That's pretty tough. Was it?

KM: It was certainly tough for my mum. But she was an awesome woman in terms of . . . her work ethic was just unbelievable, you know? To run the shop and get us on and . . . everything was done for the kids.

PK: It wasn't tough on you?

KM: I don't think about it that way. I never sat down and said, 'God this is tough for me'. You kind of got on with it. You have a big family around you and you're busy all the time, the shop that you're always working in, Drimnagh Castle is beside you and you're playing football literally six or seven days a week.

PK: Is that a defence mechanism?

KM: What?

PK: That you don't think about it? That you just get on with it?

KM: You get on with it, yeah, but it's not a defence mechanism. I think you can be conscious about it, you know? I often . . . I don't really want to go into this but you hear people saying, 'Oh, when I was young I got hit and got belted and therefore I'm affected by it'. What a load of rubbish. I'm not talking about it, but the odd smack here or there never done anybody any harm. But everybody is different I suppose.

PK: Yeah, I lost my father last week and it was the biggest kick in the bollocks I've ever had.

KM: I'm sorry to hear that. So you were close with him all the way up?

PK: Yeah, really close.

KM: But you are much more mature and older than (I was) . . . if I looked at my dad . . . he didn't seem around that much. He worked in a shop and was away a bit. He came to the odd game but not that many. Jim was younger than me and I remember him going to his games more than mine and thinking, 'Why is he going to his games?' I was obviously devastated by it but I don't look back and go . . . (pauses). My mother was the driver in the house, without a shadow of a doubt, even when my dad was around.

PK: You did commerce at UCD and seemed fixed or pretty sure about what you wanted to do?

KM: I put down engineering for my first choice, and got engineering and then switched to commerce but wasn't determined to go down any particular route. The education was great at the time and I enjoyed college immensely and it was only in my final year in '76 that the Dublin thing erupted.

PK: You spent the previous summer in New York?

KM: Yeah, I went to New York that summer with my mate Mick Simpson. Mick stayed, I came back and remember going to Croke Park for the final when they got beat by Kerry. The pub we always went to was Mulligan's in Poolbeg Street and I remember going back there and discussing it: 'Fucking hell! They're useless!' (Laughs). And you would never have thought that a year later I would be out there. I wasn't even playing at that stage!

PK: That is extraordinary. When did you start playing?

KM: I played a bit in New York and that gave me a feel for it again. I had played (soccer) in my first year in college with Rangers, and the second year I was playing with Bohs. In the third year I played for the college team (UCD) and that gave me a chance to play Gaelic again, because they played on Saturday and I could play for Good Counsel on Sunday.

PK: And it was in one of those Good Counsel games that you were spotted by Lorcan Redmond and Donal Colfer, the Dublin selectors?

KM: Yeah.

PK: They invited you to play in a challenge game against Kerry in Tralee in early '76. What were the circumstances of that? Because it was your first time to meet the team.

KM: The first time I ever met the guys was on the train. I didn't know them. I'd only seen them play in the All-Ireland. I knew the big names, Jimmy (Keaveney), Paddy (Cullen), but there was that element of just sitting in your seat and keeping your counsel. My brother, Brendan, came down and I remember him joking when I came off: 'Did you enjoy the game? I hope so, because it's the last time you'll play for them'.

PK: Was Kevin Heffernan there?

KM: No.

PK: Do you remember your first meeting with him?

KM: For some reason he hadn't come to the first few training sessions and I remember thinking, 'What is this guy going to be like?' The great thing about Kevin was that he had a fantastic presence about him. Great men do. They just have it, and he had it. He never went out of his way to say 'hello' or bring me in, it was just, 'You're in. Let's see what you're like'.

PK: How many times did you play before the All-Ireland final?

KM: There was the game in Tralee and, I don't know, I think it might have been the league semi-final. Did we play in the O'Byrne Cup in those days? I'm not sure.

PK: But a year after watching the All-Ireland final as a spectator you played in it?

KM: Yeah.

PK: How did it feel to win?

KM: Ahhh, I keep saying it because it is about the winning, that's what gives you that big buzz afterwards. The celebrations were . . . we went back to Meaghers, The Log Cabin (in Fairview) and then I think . . . I'll tell you where we went, Leopardstown, which was a bit of a venue to go to. (Laughs) But I can't recollect too much after that.

PK: You graduated that year?

KM: I graduated that year. I had two repeats to do on the day after the night of the All Stars, because I remember staying overnight in the Burlington Hotel and Kevin saying to me, 'What are you going to do?'

'I'm staying over.'

'No, no, no, you've got repeats.'

I said, 'I'll be fine.'

And I started work with Oliver Freaney in January '77.

PK: Where was that?

KM: An accountancy firm in Ballsbridge; Oliver Freaney had played with Dublin. His second in command was Noel Fox, so it was a big GAA place as well. But it was a good-size accountancy practice at the time and I did a year and was getting around to start thinking about doing the exams and all the rest of it.

PK: Did you like accountancy?

KM: I wouldn't have said I was in love with it. It's funny because you hear the kids nowadays: 'I'm not happy.' And you'd never dare even think about coming home and saying, 'I'm not happy with this job'. If you were happy, that was a bonus (laughs). The idea was that you had a job and could earn money and live. So that's what it was, a job.

PK: How did the '77 semi-final against Kerry compare to the final the year before?

KM: Yeah, it's funny because '77 was the better game, there's no doubt about that but '76 was the bigger one because we've won (the All-Ireland) so it all falls back to that again, and you've picked up something for it. The '77 game I remember wasn't a full house.

PK: Was it not?

KM: Far from it, about 55,000, and that was on the back of the '76 game, which was massive. There wasn't that same movement of Dublin fans that you have now, it was growing from '74 but not to the same extent as now, the people following in droves, which is fantastic. And they still say it today about Kerry, they don't bother coming up unless it's for a final. But check it, I think it was 55,000.

PK: You've singled out '76 as 'the' game. What if '77 had been the final?

KM: Yes, that would have been better. The game itself was definitely better . . . them in front, then us, the anxiety of it all. Which way is it going to go? You can still hear Michael O'Hehir and he was caught up in it all.

PK: So you win a second All-Ireland and take off on a break to Ballybunion with Bobby Doyle to the races.

KM: Yeah, the Tralee races.

PK: This is another passage from (the book) Kerry v Dublin: One balmy night, both friends had some drink aboard and Doyle looked at Moran and the younger man started to cry. '1977 was a specially happy year and I was very pally with Kevin. He just started to cry. I said, "Come on, come outside." We went out and we were sitting outside on a big kerb. We were well jarred. I said, "What's wrong Kev?"

"I'll miss all this."

"You won't, sure this will go on for a few years yet."

"No, Manchester United are looking for me."

" Jaysus, Kev. How much have you had? C'mon. You'll be all right."

"No, they wanted me to go last year and I wouldn't go.'"

Moran and Doyle went walking down the beach in Ballybunion. Doyle asked his friend, what could he lose? He had the chance of a lifetime. It either worked out or he came home to a long career with the Dubs.

KM: Yeah, the crying bit is probably OTT but I do remember talking to Bobby and us going out and having a chat about it.

PK: But you're not sure you cried?

KM: Well, I think maybe he saw me down and I was thinking about it, and then maybe afterwards I was missing it and that sort of thing. But it's funny I said that to Bobby then because if that was '77, when did I actually go over for the trial? I couldn't have gone over during the championship, I think the trial would have been around October time, so maybe I said to him that I was going over on trial. Because I knew straight away (after the trial) and remember keeping it quiet when I came back. That would have been late October/November because I remember being in Freaney's when it broke and hiding for the afternoon with a mate in a pub. The media were all over the place.

PK: Given how you felt about being an accountant, that scene with Bobby makes no sense to me. You've got the biggest club in the world banging at your door. Why would you feel down?

KM: Let me put it into context for you. When Dave Sexton asked me to sign, we were in his car and he was driving me to a hotel a few hundred yards down the road from here, the Cresta Court in Altrincham. He said to me: 'Listen, we like what we've seen. We'd like you to sign a two-and-a-half-year contract.' And I went, 'You're joking me.' And he goes, 'No, is there a problem?' And I said, 'Well, I wasn't expecting this. Do you mind if I take two or three weeks to think about it?' And he said, 'Sure, no problem.' And I took every bit of those two or three weeks to think about it.

PK: That still doesn't make sense to me, Kevin.

KM: Why?

PK: How much were you earning at Freaney's?

KM: £17.

PK: Right, £17 a week. What was the contract at United?

KM: A hundred.

PK: Tony Cascarino says you throw your money around like manhole covers . . .

KM: (Laughs)

PK: . . . so you would have known the difference between £17 a week and £100 a week.

KM: But it wasn't about money - nothing was about money then. The path that pulled me to say 'no' was Dublin, leaving the Dublin guys when I've just been part of winning two All-Irelands, that is what I found so hard. I had been thinking about doing something else businesswise at the time, because the accountancy I didn't really like, and I was seriously looking at sport shops.

PK: Sport shops?

KM: Yeah, (opening) a sport shop but it was Dublin more than anything else, and if you say, 'What made you go?' there was one thing, and one thing only: I didn't want to be asking, 'Could I have made it?' in 20 or 30 years.

* * * * *

2 That's amazing

Kevin Moran, so good when it most mattered, talked of his battles with Ruud Gullit. A big man full of modesty, Moran had never seemed as happy as he was this evening. He wanted to explain to Eleanor (his wife) what it was all about: "Just imagine," he said, "how your brothers in Westport will feel this evening." Just imagine!

David Walsh,

The Sunday Tribune,

June 24 1990

PK: You arrived in Manchester in February 1978 and I've read that you found it difficult to settle?

KM: The football side was difficult for me. The chief scout at the time was a fellow called Joe Brown and I remember him saying to me in March or April: 'You know, you'll never make it here.' And I could see where he was coming from but I was gradually making progress.

PK: What about your ego? You've come from being a massive star in Ireland to playing with the reserves in Manchester. That's a big comedown . . . is it?

KM: It is if you want to look at it that way.

PK: You didn't?

KM: I never looked at it that way. My attitude was: 'I've done nothing. I'm at the bottom of the ladder. I've got to learn'. And Dave Sexton was great to me. He took an interest and could sense I wanted to learn.

PK: It seems pretty astonishing that you played in the Leinster final that summer?

KM: Yeah, well, as soon as I went back for the summer I started training again with Dublin and I didn't tell them. I didn't dare tell them. I played in the Leinster final and went back and came over for the semi-final and decided to tell them after we got through to the final. I think Kevin came over with Tony (Hanahoe) to see Dave Sexton and get clearance for it and he was fine, because I wasn't anywhere near the (United) first team. I remember Dave Sexton saying to me, a week before the final, 'Why don't you go over earlier and train with the guys?' I said, 'Ah, fantastic,' and I did that and (pulled) my hamstring on the Tuesday before the game.

PK: And then you cut yourself in the final?

KM: I cut myself. I got eight or nine stitches in my head and did awful damage to my hamstring because it was gone and I played with it. I came back to Manchester with a bandage around my head and stitches all over the place and the players just fell about laughing when I came into the dressing room.

PK: You made your first team debut for United against Southampton in April '79?

KM: Well, funny enough before that I played in a testimonial for Peter Bonetti at Chelsea and that to me was a big breakthrough. Harry Gregg was on the coaching staff at the time and I remember him saying after that game - because you never know how you do - but he said: 'I heard you did really well'. I said, 'Did I?' He said, 'Yeah, they're talking about you up there'. And a month later I got called up to play against Southampton because they were resting players for the FA Cup final.

PK: And you still came back to play for Dublin again!

KM: I did, yeah, against Meath in Navan. It was a bit trickier now but I almost felt, 'Sure what else am I going to be doing?' And then the following year, after I'd made about nine appearances for United, I went to see a friend in Chicago and flew up to New York and played in Gaelic Park!

PK: So that was the summer of 1980?

KM: Yeah.

PK: Which was after you had made your international debut?

KM: Yeah, it would have been.

PK: That's amazing.

KM: (Laughs)

PK: It strikes me from your reaction to what we've been talking about that you were really, really, happy playing with Dublin. So here's a question: Were you ever as happy in your professional career?

KM: The answer to that is a definite yes. When you look at the guys I played with at United and with Ireland how could I not? The fun and crack we had during those Ireland days was unbelievable.

PK: Had you a plan worked out for retirement when you stopped in '94?

KM: Not really, no. When I finished playing Kenny (Dalglish) offered me a job as the reserve team manager (at Blackburn Rovers) but I didn't feel it was what I wanted at the time. The other opportunity that came my way was sports management - a friend of mine at the time, Paul Stretford, was talking about getting together with Jesper Olsen (to form Pro Active Sports Management) and that appealed to me because I felt it was a business I could control. There's a huge excitement about (football) management but it's all-consuming. They are there all day, every day and I just thought 'Do I need that?' Pro Active was nothing like that. It was hectic at times but at least you were doing it for yourself.

PK: Who was your first client?

KM: Paul looked after the player's side of it because he was the licensed agent. Jesper and I were more into event management. We did a lot of tickets at Old Trafford and other venues, the '96 European Championships, the Open . . .

PK: Was it fulfilling?

KM: Yeah, it was enjoyable. I've always said I was lucky in football and afterwards because I've never had that Monday morning feeling, ever. And I know I might have had it (had I stayed) with Freaney's. (laughs)

PK: You haven't written a book?

KM: Yeah, I've been asked a lot of times.

PK: I'm sure . . . go on.

KM: I suppose my reasons for it were twofold: I didn't want a bland book that just gives all the usual 'played this game, played that game'. And the other thing was: if I was doing one it would have to be warts and all and I just thought to myself, 'Do I need to do that?' No, not particularly.

PK: But 'bland' would be up to you? And you could write it without killing people because you've had such an interesting career.

KM: Yeah, I suppose but you think, 'Who's interested now?' And that was always my take on it.

PK: When is the last time you saw Jack?

KM: I'm not sure, it's a while now.

PK: He's not well.

KM: Yeah, I know he has been suffering a lot.

PK: What was your view of him as a manager?

KM: The first thing you look at with any manager is, 'Is he playing me?' That defines whether you are going to like him a lot, and I played a lot under Jack. He had his own way about him and a style of football, let's be honest, we all didn't like but we accepted it because we were successful and could see the pluses. As a man, you couldn't but like him because he allowed us freedom, and allowed us to enjoy ourselves, although we're probably fortunate there wasn't Facebook and all that sort of stuff in our day.

PK: (Laughs)

KM: We are. It would have been a completely different ball game with the social media you have now and he certainly couldn't have adapted to that. But he was great. Was he a great coach? No, I'd find that hard to say. Did he analyse the opposition? Emmm, not really. But it worked.

PK: You made the point earlier about great men and the sense of presence. How many great men have you met that have had that presence?

KM: Sir Matt (Busby), Kevin as I mentioned . . . It's a unique thing. I wouldn't put Sir Alex in there, probably because I kind of grew up with him when he came to United first. So he wouldn't have had that, but I think some people would say that he had it now.

PK: Does it apply to players as well? Or is that harder to gauge because you're playing with them?

KM: I think it can apply to players. I'm sure some people see Roy Keane in a room and go, 'Wow, I felt a presence' because they looked up to him as a player.

PK: Or it might be a dark presence.

KM: Yeah (laughs).

PK: Okay, let's talk about your life now. How does it feel to be 59?

KM: To me it's just a number. If you thought about it you'd go, 'Uhhh!' so I don't think about it.

PK: Do you watch a lot of football?

KM: I have two season tickets at Old Trafford but I go and watch a lot of other games.

PK: Is that still the business?

KM: To an extent, yeah, but I still enjoy going to games. Outside of that, I enjoy golf and play tennis most Friday afternoons.

PK: So if age is just a number, what about ambition and the things you want to do with your life from now?

KM: That's a good one. (long pause) The business side (of things) has scaled down a bit from when we were trying to build something . . . What I am involved with, and it's going very well, is the Sports Surgery clinic in Dublin.

PK: Your brother, Ray's? You're involved with that?

KM: Yeah, I'm on the board.

PK: Ray is nearly more famous than you are now?

KM: Absolutely. It has completely turned around. I go to Dublin and people ask: Are you a brother of Ray Moran? (laughs) There's a lot of people have gone through Ray's hands.

PK: What about Gaelic football?

KM: It's changed a lot from my day.

PK: What's changed?

KM: The formations now. I remember the first time I went over to see Donegal play and you almost thought you were watching a soccer game! I thought, 'Wow! Everybody is behind the ball. How are Dublin going to break that down?' A lot of teams are like that now and the fitness levels are just incredible. So I've a lot of admiration for them, their work effort and commitment is just phenomenal and I hope they get the credit and praise they deserve for that. In our day, it was Dublin and Kerry that pushed that extra yard, now all of them have done it.

PK: How does it feel watching Bernard Brogan's sons play?

KM: Yeah, I've watched them, great players.

PK: Does it make you feel old?

KM: (Laughs) I don't have to go there for that.

Sunday Indo Sport

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