Wednesday 23 May 2018

'You'd have to have huge admiration for Dublin but we want to win the All Ireland this year'

Kerry midfielder desperate for glory but set to miss out on start of league

David Moran of Kerry in action against Ciaran Reddin, centre, and Bernard Brogan of Dublin
David Moran of Kerry in action against Ciaran Reddin, centre, and Bernard Brogan of Dublin
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

David Moran hasn't watched the video of last year's All-Ireland semi-final replay defeat to Mayo.

"I didn't want to spoil Christmas," he smiles, only half-joking.

He's is heading into his 11th season with Kerry and turns 30 later this year. Last season saw another year slip by without an All-Ireland. At this stage of the game, those defeats linger a little longer.

In a way, it has crept up on him. For so long he was among the younger crew of players behind the likes of Tomás and Marc Ó Sé, Aidan O'Mahony and others. They have moved on. Now, Moran is one of the senior men.

It's a far cry from the start of his career. Back then he was a talented youngster with a famous name.

After more than decade with Kerry, he's very much his own man now but he's always worn the 'Ogie's son' title - that followed him around in the early part of his career - lightly.

Chiefly because he didn't know anything else. He points out that many of his contemporaries were in the same boat.

The Kerins O'Rahillys clubman grew up alongside the Listons and the Walshes. As far as he was concerned, everyone had a famous father. "It doesn't bother me and it never did," Moran says. "Whether I was Ogie's son or I wasn't, I was always very proud of him and his achievements but it never bothered me.

You'd like to think you'd be able to be taken on your own merits as well but I never had any problems with it. I was comfortable enough in my own skin so didn't feel inferior or any of that kind of thing.

"And I was probably lucky in the sense that my brother was very talented underage, I was more living in his shadow than Dad's."

David Moran and Aislinn Desmond at Slea Head to launch Comórtas Peile Páidi Ó Sé 2018, which takes place around the Dingle Peninsula from February 16-18
David Moran and Aislinn Desmond at Slea Head to launch Comórtas Peile Páidi Ó Sé 2018, which takes place around the Dingle Peninsula from February 16-18

"And then because we had ourselves, the Walshes and Eoin Liston was at our club so everyone was the same, it wasn't just us.

"Whether you were Seanie's son or Ogie's son or Bomber's son it made no difference - you were the son of someone who played back then.

"We all didn't know any different. And all our parents were very supportive. I don't think there was any pressure.

Read more here:

"If I didn't play with Kerry or didn't like football I wasn't going to go home and get told I had to. So it wasn't a pressure, there was never a burden."

Save for a brief flirtation with the AFL and St Kilda, Gaelic football was his only calling, but establishing himself with Kerry didn't come easily.

David Moran with his parents Anne and Ogie after Kerry's victory over Donegal in the 2014 All-Ireland SFC final Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
David Moran with his parents Anne and Ogie after Kerry's victory over Donegal in the 2014 All-Ireland SFC final Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

The Tralee native was part of the squad from 2008 but didn't make his first championship start until 2010 against Cork. He scored a goal off the bench in the defeat to Down in that year's All-Ireland quarter-final before disaster struck.

A series of setbacks, including two cruciate knee injuries and a freak accident that damaged his eye, kept him out of championship action for three years.

After the Down game, he didn't play championship again until they beat Cavan in the last eight in 2013.

He has had a run at it since and produced an imperious performance as Mayo were beaten in an All-Ireland semi-final replay in 2014.

Now they face into 2018 with Dublin looking to become the first side since Mick O'Dwyer's great Kerry team in 1981 to win four All-Ireland titles in-a-row.

No matter what they state publicly, those records matter in Kerry.

"You'd have to admire them," Moran says of the Dubs. "And the way they play too is brilliant, it's real open football, they have really good forwards - so you'd have to have huge admiration for them.

"I'll probably be less bitter when I retire and stuff but I think you need that for a while!

"You'd have to put your hands up, they have easily been the best team in the country for the last five or six years.

But at the end of the day we are out to try win the All-Ireland this year, if we don't play Dublin it doesn't bother us, we just want to win the All-Ireland.

"That's where we're coming from, we're not worrying too much about Dublin, we're just trying to worry about Kerry."

Moran will miss the early part of the season with "a few niggles" and hopes to return for the latter stages of the league.

Still, he expects Kerry to be in the shake-up come the business end of the championship but warns people will have to be patient with rising star David Clifford.

"I think he's very talented but I think people need to be patient. And the other thing is that the full-forward line for Kerry last year was the one line that could put their hand up and say we did OK, it wasn't as if we have to have someone in the full-forward line now.

"Paul (Geaney) obviously had a very good year, Kieran (Donaghy) in the first Mayo game kept us in it nearly on his own, he was very good against Galway. Barry John Keane, Jack Savage, James (O'Donoghue) got Munster Player of the Year, so it wasn't as if, you know, 'we need a full-forward or corner-forward badly'.

"It's probably out around my position, like, I wouldn't have been putting my hand up saying I delivered big time in a lot of the games. I think that's a factor as well where he will get as much time as he needs and I think he will need more time than people are expecting.

"I think Joe Canning probably coming out of (underage) the hurling was the only one that I seen had any (instant impact). He took a year out and then people were almost offended like, it's amazing, but there has to be patience with him."

David Moran was at the launch of Comórtas Peile Páidi Ó Sé 2018, which is on the Dingle Peninsula February 16-18. Details on www.paidiose.com

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport