Wednesday 21 August 2019

Instinctive Molloy aims to keep bucking trends


Corofin’s Kieran Molloy who was crowned the AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year for 2018/19. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Corofin’s Kieran Molloy who was crowned the AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year for 2018/19. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

With a pony tail and regular demonstrations of skills that make jaws drop, it's fair to say that Galway and Corofin star Kieran Molloy isn't your stereotypical footballer.

His long mop of hair - which is four years in the making - garners as much attention as his rampaging displays from wing-back and like many things, it started off out of necessity to win a bet with his cousin.

"He said I wouldn't grow it Ladies Day to Ladies Day at the (Galway) races. I was too stubborn to give in, so I did (grow it). I cut it after that and I didn't like it so I have it long ever since then," the AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year for 2018/'19 said.

Some comments are thrown Molloy's way as a result but "it's just water off a duck's back" at this stage and while he didn't collect much on the novelty bet, he has made up for it with Corofin's haul in recent years.

Back-to-back All-Ireland Club SFC titles have put their name into the conversation as one of the greatest club football teams of all time with their swashbuckling style lauded in a generation in which defensive football has largely dominated.

No one exemplifies that style more than Molloy - who is studying Project and Construction Management in NUIG - with his beautiful volleyed pass for Jason Leonard's goal in their All-Ireland final defeat of Dr Crokes a symbol of his side's unique methods.

Molloy doesn't see it as anything special though, it's just something which has been bred into them in Corofin with their U-12s also putting on a football clinic in the half-time show of last month's decider.

"It definitely doesn't happen by accident. It is bred into us. It is taught, 'You find the best pass, you don't need to make the run yourself… always look up… always try and kick the ball… the ball will move faster than the man so let the ball do the work most of the time'," he said.

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"I saw two or three of the videos and the play was the same (from the half-time game), the finish was the exact same. It was great to see them doing it. It does show hope in the future, in the young lads growing up.

"Kick-passing is a great way to do it but a lot of teams just like to play it safe. If you have the ball, the other team can't hurt you and they like to mind it. We just try and get up there as quick as we can, try and get it over the bar or get it in the back of the net.

"I wouldn't say (sweepers are) frowned upon but we just don't do it, we just try to more so play football than anyone sitting back and waiting for the team to come at you - 15 on 15 and beat them that way with your football and your skill.

"Instinctive play is a big thing. You have to be able to play the game as you see it, you can't just rely on systems the whole time. All I think of it is just playing football. I don't think of it as anything special, it's just playing football to us like."

College exams two days after the St Patrick's Day victory kept him on his toes, but he's used to being busy between Sigerson Cup, club and county duty and he successfully mixed the three codes in the busy months en route to the club final.

The 22-year-old is keen to move onto the next challenge and nail down a place in Kevin Walsh's Galway line-up where a Connacht final meeting with Mayo could be in the offing en route to a crack at the Dubs.

"If Galway and Mayo win, the only place they can meet is in a Connacht final so that'd be great. I think it's on in Pearse Stadium this year so it'd be a great Connacht final now considering that they won the league as well."

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