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12th Feb 2022

Mickey Moran goes straight over to hug Craig Dias and Robbie Brennan after All-Ireland club win

Niall McIntyre

There are a lot of mé féiners in the GAA but Mickey Moran is not one of them.

The Derryman has waited a long time to win an All-Ireland title, losing finals with Mayo, Slaughtneil and Kilcoo along the way but when he finally won one, on a dramatic February Saturday with Kilcoo, it still wasn’t about him. It’s never about him.

Mickey Moran doesn’t do interviews and he keeps himself to himself on the line. But the quiet man is often the smart man and since 1988, when he won his first county championship as a a manager, with Omagh St Enda’s in Tyrone, Mickey Moran has been one of the smartest men on the sideline.

There were a few moments of class in Saturday night’s All-Ireland club football final between Kilmacud Crokes and Kilcoo. The first to make you stop and stare was early on in the second half when, with Kilcoo losing by 0-8 to 0-2, it looked like game over as Craig Dias set himself to palm one into the Down side’s net. From nowhere, Miceál Rooney arrived on the scene and it was the moment that turned this game seconds later when, in putting his body on the line, he dived in and somehow intercepted the pass.

Suddenly, the wing back had breathed new life into Kilcoo’s challenge. But it wasn’t just the players who covered themselves in glory on the biggest day in the club calendar.

It was only a couple of minutes later when, with one of his selectors about to bark the linesman out of it for giving a decision against them, Kilmacud manager Robbie Brennan pulled his man back, calmed him down and told him there was no need for it.

It was a calm yet authoritative piece of management and when you looked at his opposite number in the Kilcoo dug-out, exuding all the same characteristics for the last five decades, it leaves you under no illusions as to how these men made it to the top.

It was a lovely moment then, at the end of the game, when Mickey Moran went straight over to the Kilmacud dug-out to hug Craig Dias first and then Robbie Brennan. Jerome Johnston had just won the game for Kilcoo with a goal that would have sent anyone wild but Moran was still calm, he was still composed and he was still class, because he’s been in that losing dug-out before.

Video: Cahair O’Kane.

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