Tuesday 16 January 2018

Leading a new movement to boost public fitness

Off the pitch: Andy Moran

Mayo's Andy Moran is leading a new movement to increase public fitness
Mayo's Andy Moran is leading a new movement to increase public fitness
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Andy Moran is a man with a vision, and it's not just for himself, it's for everybody. With the simple belief that 'Movement changes everything' Moran and the team at Castlebar HQ want to change people's lives, both young and old.

Having recently created history as part of the first Mayo team to claim five Connacht titles in a row, Moran is now looking to create a healthier and more active future for Castlebar and beyond.

"Our motto is 'Movement changes everything' and we pride ourselves on having a gym where there are no machines. Our focus is on movement and that's what we want to get people doing."

The former All Star thinks that there's also a vacancy beyond pubs and more traditional social scenes in Irish society at the moment, and that gyms can fill that void.

"Irish culture was always built around meeting and greeting people and now that the health and fitness sector is growing we believe that the gym can be the place for people to meet and interact."

He continues: "Obesity is a huge issue and it's getting bigger, so we want to give people a social outlet that's also healthy for the body."

For a man who has recently had his first child and is also working full time, it wasn't a simple decision to set up his own business, but this is an itch he's always wanted to scratch.

"Since I was a young fella, I've always had the drive to set up my own business, it was just a matter of finding the right thing that I was passionate about.

"I'm very lucky to have a full-time job with a great Irish company like Pinewood and it means I've had to put a lot of trust in the Castlebar HQ team and they've been brilliant."

As with all good local businesses, it's creating jobs, and two of Andy's staff are Mayo players David Drake and Neil Douglas. "Along with our chief trainer Georgey and Joe, we have David and Neil so we're building a great team. However, it can be tough on everyone when we have Mayo training the same evening!"

The team would be nothing, however, without Moran's wife Jenny, who is a multi-tasker to be admired.

"Jenny is a big part of everything. She's managing our social media, our Castlebar HQ app and the financials, all that on top of being a full-time mum to Charlotte, so I don't know where I'd be without her."

Like most GAA players, Moran does see a life beyond football, but he does also understand how people may struggle once they hang up the boots.

"I can't imagine what it's like really to retire from the club and county scene, but I do think it's very important you have something else beyond the pitch. If you're not involved in a passion I can see where it would bring about troubles for guys, so I'm very lucky in that regard."

The former Mayo captain sees coaching as a future pursuit once he decides to close the door on Mayo football. "I have a massive interest in coaching and I have started on my badges and have already done a bit of coaching with St Nathy's School senior team, so that's a line I want to go down and Castlebar HQ fits right into that."

It's clear that Moran's passion lies in people and their futures, and his goal and the goal of Castlebar HQ, reflects that.

"We want to help people move better, and to change their lives."

Simple but powerful.

In Focus

What I listen to: Newstalk (it's a close fight between Hook and Cooper in the evenings though)

The Last book I read: Moneyball

Favourite sport other than GAA: Soccer

What I love about football: I love the idea of team sports and that when you're a young person and you get involved in the GAA you have a social outlet, which no other organisation offers.

What I hate about football: Negative media talk, I believe it's the greatest game in the world and the media keep talking it down.

If I could change one thing about football: I'd add a 50-yard penalty for cynical play

My advice for young players: Everything is based around skill and movement. Get to the pitch and practice.

For more Players In Focus visit www.gaelicplayers.com

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