Mickey Moran gives a rare interview in TG4's brilliant Anton O'Toole documentary
When he stepped down as Kilcoo boss at the beginning of the year, Mickey Moran left as one of the longest serving managers in the GAA.
Having had a successful playing career, the Derry man began his managerial career in the 1980s, when he became one of his own county's youngest ever managers. In 1993, he was the Eamonn Coleman's right-hand-man and the coach as his own county won Sam Maguire.
From there, and over the course of the next five decades, he managed Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Mayo while in 1993, he was Eamonn Coleman's right-hand-man and the coach as his own county won Sam Maguire.
In the club game, meanwhile, he had a hugely successful spell with Slaughtneil.
Under his guidance, the Derry club became one of the juggernauts of Ulster club football and their status was only emulated, really, when Moran built up another empire with Kilcoo.
It was with the Down club that Moran won his one and only All-Ireland title, back in February, and there were emotional scenes afterwards when he walked the Croke Park pitch and kissed the patch of grass from where Jerome Johnston scored the winning goal.
That was how much it meant.
A tremendous man.
Having waited all these years to win an All-Ireland title, Mickey Moran, as soon as he won one, went straight over to the Kilmacud bench to console Craig Dias and then his opposing manager Robbie Brennan.pic.twitter.com/gPt3nnYt1S
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) February 12, 2022
Right through all those years, one of the many constants was that Moran was no fan of doing interviews. In 2004, at a time when he was again involved with Derry, Moran told Irish Examiner journalist Kieran Shannon exactly why.
“I don’t like the media aspect of [county management],” he said.
“I’m not comfortable with it. It’s got wild high profile this past while, you just feel sometimes that you don’t even want to be involved in football.
“Once the final whistle goes? Anti-climax. Job done.
"You just want to get back to the training pitch the next night, quick. Get home and go for a walk and think about how we’re going to go about our next session on the Tuesday. The training ground.
"That’s where the buzz is. The actual field and seeing things from there come to fruition during a match. That’s the satisfaction. Knowing the fellas and watching them do a job, because to me that’s who it’s all about – the players.”
His tune hadn't changed almost 20 years later when, as Kilcoo manager, he always left the media duties to his own right-hand-man Conleith Gilligan.
It's a fair testament to TG4 then, that they managed to pull in Moran for their recent Finscéal de Shaol GAA documentary on the late great Dublin legend Anton O'Toole. Moran had played against and admired 'the blue panther' so maybe that's why he agreed, but given how little we've heard from the man over the years, it really added another dimension to the production.
Watch one of Moran's contributions in the below clip.
— Niall McIntyre (@NiallMcintyre) December 30, 2022
The whole documentary is worth watching however, given the contributions from Dublin legends like Niall Quinn, Paddy Cullen, David Hickey, Jim Gavin andCiaran Kilkenny while the scene of all his former team-mates meeting up in the back garden to discuss his memory will live on.
You can watch the full thing on the TG4 player here.