Andy Moran reveals the only two Mayo teammates that could be called "mavericks"
"Once you saw them play, you got immediately excited at the prospect of playing with them, testing yourself against them, and learning of them."
Andy Moran has been very busy since retiring from Mayo; presenting a podcast, landing a managerial role with Leitrim and writing his first book.
In this autobiography, '“Andy – Lessons Learned in Pursuit of Glory” the fluid forward reveals that during his entire playing career with Mayo, which spanned well over a decade, he only played with two players that fit the 'maverick' profile.
By definition, a maverick is "an unorthodox or independent-minded person," but in sporting terms it is usually a term used to describe a player that is not only the star of the team, but completely unique in comparison to his teammates.
Eric Cantona for Manchester United, Muhammad Ali who conquered the world of boxing, or Diego Maradona who almost singlehandedly won Argentina the World Cup in 1986 - these athletes were all mavericks in their own right.
They have to have a distinctive look, an unusual personality, but above all else, an aura about them that somehow creates curiosity, admiration and resentment, all at once.
A typical "love them or hate them" character, but regardless of which way your affections swung for them, you respected the hell out of their ability and talent.
Andy Moran reveals the first, and most obvious maverick from his playing days.
Moran dedicates a whole chapter to the benefits and complications of a maverick, and in particular, the two he shared a pitch with during his time with Mayo.
"In my time involved with Mayo teams, I've seen two players who fit the maverick profile.
"Two guys who once you saw them play, you got immediately excited at the prospect of playing with them, testing yourself against them, and learning of them.
"The first was Ciarán McDonald. Few players have captivated football fans the way Ciarán did.
"The look, the skills, the attitude: he stood out a mile on every pitch he graced."
Moran explained how the attraction of Ciarán McDonald was so great that it even swayed his friend Gary Cassin (who only played soccer and didn't like Gaelic football), into becoming a fan.
"Gary arrives out at the next morning at (soccer) training with his white socks pulled up to his knees, shouting at me from the goals about how brilliant Ciarán Mc was.
"He spent the whole week driving us mad at training trying to kick the ball off the outside of his boot just like McDonald.
"That was the power of Ciarán McDonald. He could convert the non-believers. Many people were drawn to him because of his image - the hair, the boots, the tan.
"But once there, they stayed for his talent. When he was on it, he was nothing short of brilliant."
The second maverick to share a pitch with Moran is maybe considered an unusual choice, but there's no denying that this individual is not only extremely talented, but different from the rest.
"Aidan O'Shea was 18 years old but already playing a man's game. Aidan was different in every aspect.
"His sheer physicality and size made him stand out from an early age."
Andy Moran explains why the youngster had to deal with extra pressure.
"He came in with a target painted on his back. Being a beast of a young fella only made him a bigger target. Literally.
"In many respects, he was Mayo's first modern player. He was extremely aware of his own profile and far from that being a negative thing, it made him an asset to Mayo football on and off the field.
"He has helped to build the Mayo brand throughout the country, and further afield. His ability and willingness to interact with children and the positive effect he has on the next generation of Mayo footballers are two of the greatest legacies he will leave when his playing days come to an end."
Andy: Lessons Learned in Pursuit of Glory is an incredibly insightful tell-all that gives a window into the life of a professional athlete, playing what is technically, an amateur's game.
The former Footballer of The Year gives an honest account on not just his many successes on the pitch, but his failures also, and why both have shaped him to be the man he is today.
You can buy the book online here at Mayo Books.