Monday 26 August 2019

Kiernans' ace Moyles made in Chelsea

Adrian Moyles captains Kiernans in today’s All-Ireland Club SFC quarter-final against Ulster kingpins Slaughtneil. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Adrian Moyles captains Kiernans in today’s All-Ireland Club SFC quarter-final against Ulster kingpins Slaughtneil. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Adrian Moyles has definitely travelled a road taken by few with stops via Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers and Brentford before captaining London side St Kiernans in today's All-Ireland Club SFC quarter-final against Ulster kingpins Slaughtneil.

Moyles has played in more illustrious venues than Greenford throughout a career mixed between soccer and Gaelic football but for him, this will be a massive career highlight.

A native of Edgware Road with parents from Mayo and London, his father regularly reminded him of Irish family ties and guided him to pick up an O'Neill's football before the soccer equivalent.

Memories of watching Kerry halt Mayo's charge for Sam Maguire in 1997 are ingrained in his memory and he soon tried to emulate his heroes every Saturday morning in England's capital.

Soccer was an afterthought but he was good enough to be scouted by Chelsea, where one of his mentors was Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, a real "hands-on coach", and it was all a little "unexpected" as he only began aged 11.

Snowballed

Ironically, he only dipped his foot in the soccer water because "it was on in the winter and Gaelic was only in the summer".

It snowballed from there, he says, but unlike professional footballers, he wasn't fulfilling his dreams.

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"I wouldn't call it a dream. It was more that, once you got into that environment, it became like a job," he said earlier this year.

"From the age of 15, I was in school for two or three days a week and everything else was about training and performance."

Approached by both England and Ireland at underage level, his heart was set on wearing green and he lined out alongside current international James McCarthy while many of Moyles' other former team-mates made decent careers as professionals including Ryan Bertrand, Andy King, Fabio Borini and Scott Sinclair.

The enjoyment was gone by his late teens, however, with a spell with Spanish side Real Zaragoza confirming this and he returned to his first love.

Fittingly, Moyles was the man to skipper St Kiernans to the first London SFC title in their 31-year history, kicking three points.

St Kiernans host the history-making Derry club, who hold Ulster titles in three codes, but with a host of home-grown players, Chris Byrnes's side are out to write their own chapter.

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