Early year 'madness' leaves Kieran Molloy looking for change
Every one of us begins a new year with ambitious targets, lofty goals and demanding aims.
Most of us start well in January, but slip back into our comfort zones by February.
Galway footballer Kieran Molloy is a different animal though. Come the second month of the year, he's really hitting top speed and he'll travel at a breakneck pace right through March and up until the end of December.
He has no other option.
And then he's on his marks and ready to go again. There is no rest for talented young footballers these days and even though Kieran Molloy enjoys the 'hectic, crazy, madness' of it all - that's how he describes it himself - he can't help but find himself frustrated.
"January and February just seem to be crazy months for me. It’s madness like," says the AIB club footballer of the year.
He lives for college ball with NUI Galway, his will to win with Corofin is something fierce and his hunger to make himself a fixture on that Galway senior team means he'll never be driven away, but that doesn't make it right.
"Definitely frustrating, you'd feel hard done by. Especially there that final against UCD (in 2018), only getting 20 minutes between the games because someone messed up on a fixture, it's not on.
"I know this year they put it off a day but it was still... It's not enough, not enough time to recover and get the head right. This year there were three players involved. I know, Shaw from Crokes and Liam Silke as well and Liam didn't get to play the game. I don't think it's fair at all on players," he says.
There are no two ways about it. With football taking up so much of his time, you'd wonder how a man like Molloy manages to get everything else done - like the college work - and he admits that it can mean some very late nights.
"Yeah, I manage to get it done but sometimes during the week, there would be a good few late nights there alright... I’m studying project and construction management," he says.
The hard work suits him down to the ground.
I’m just finished third year so I’m out on placement for five months. I’m in Athenry now, out on placement, it’s just 15 minutes up the road in with JJ Rhatigan on a site. A bit of fresh air, ah sure it’s great."
Think about it though. It's crazy what these lads are being asked to do; to play two All-Ireland finals in the space of 24 hours and he took us through the difficulties it creates.
"I went home (from Carrick-on-Shannon) and I got some form of a sleep but you know, you'd have liked to have gone out with the lads or whatever but you had to go home and you go straight down the next morning on the bus with the lads (NUIG).
"The legs were in bits, there's just no recovery time at all especially after a hard game there like Gaoth Dobhair they're a great side, it was hard, a tough tough game, the pitch was kind of heavy. Then you had to go down on a bus journey all the way down to Cork. You'd be stiff getting off the bus. I don't think player welfare was taken into account at all.
"I want to give a 100% but if the body won't let you it's just, you can't. I do want to try. I love playing college football but when you can't give it it just doesn't feel right."
And that's why he wants to see a change. Run off the club championships in one calendar year.
"I think there was talks of putting it back to January and having it all finished off in January and that would be a great first step to be able to do that, but I think they could go back more and try get it all played off before Christmas even."
It says an awful lot about Kieran Molloy though, that he's still loving his football. Being involved with a free-flowing Corofin team, it must be said, is quite the remedy.
"We don’t even think about it. We just think about playing football. There’s a lot of freedom to play your own game, do you own thing and play as a team. There’s not too much ‘we’re going to do this at this time of the game’, it’s just more ‘lads just go out and play the game as you see it’. We’re always given the basic skills from underage to have it, so it’s now to just think on our feet how to use it.
"I Was definitely looking up to them (Sice, Fitzgerald) when I was five or six. I don’t know how to feel when you play with them. You look back, and you’re just like ‘I got him to sign a jersey when I was five or six! Here I am playing with them in an All-Ireland in Croke Park.’ It’s unreal."
Galway get their fair share of criticism for not deploying that same, gung-ho style, but Molloy doesn't feel curtailed in the county set-up.
“Galway is structured but I wouldn't say there isn't any free play in it either. A lot of the time, you have to be able to think on your feet as well with Galway. It's just trying to learn the basics and then going out to implement them in your own way and try to bring something different.”
As for the long hair that makes him instantly recognisable, we'll let Molloy take it away.
"It's long for the last four years I think. I grew it out for a bet and had to grow it for a year.
"I cut it off and didn't like it when it was short so so I grew it back out. I don't know what [the bet was about], it was Ladies Day at the Galway Races and I had my hair skinned. [Someone said] 'I bet you won't grow it long' and stubbornness took over then."
"Sometimes it's frustrating (playing with it) but eventually you just don't even notice it's there."
Corofin’s Kieran Molloy was crowned the AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year for 2018/19. AIB and the GAA honoured 30 players on Saturday evening at the second annual AIB GAA Club Player Awards held at Croke Park. The AIB GAA Club Player Awards recognise the top performing players throughout the Club Championships in hurling and football and celebrate their hard work, commitment and individual achievements at a national level. AIB are proud to be in their 28th season as sponsors of the AIB GAA Club Championship. For exclusive content and to see why AIB are backing Club and County follow us @AIB_GAA on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and AIB.ie/GAA.