"He was a nightmare to play against...you were just a sitting duck"
Páidi Ó Sé gave his nephew Marc lots of helpful advice but one piece stands out.
The west Kerry car was full at the time so Páidí arranged Marc's lift to training with none other than Seamus Moynihan. And the Kerry manager told the youngster to watch, and learn.
"The west Kerry car was full-up," says Marc on Monday's GAA Hour man-marking special.
"So Páidi told me to hop in with Seamus Moynihan and he told me 'be like a sponge.'
'Learn everything you can from that man because he has it down to a tee,' he says.
"So I just watched him in training, what he did, the man-marking, getting the near hand in..."
The young Gaeltacht man learned from the man-marking master, and it wasn't long before he was building his own reputation as one of the tightest defenders in the game.
"We just had a rule down here that the best way to stop your man was just don't give him the ball," said Ó Sé.
"But if he gets the ball and takes you on - the managers all would have been vocal about getting the hand in. Just trying to put them off, getting that hand in. I'd wait for them to take their play and I'd try and pounce then..."
Sick mixtape incoming, Kerry style. pic.twitter.com/hZShdJUxVA
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) June 16, 2020
"I would have done a lot of home-work before games. I'd always check how a player played in the previous game, if he played poorly, I was really on my guard because I knew good players rarely played bad twice in a row. I watched a lot of videos, how forwards turned, how they took you on and that. But it's a dying art now. Players want to be on the other side of the field being a Con O'Callaghan or a David Clifford and I think it's sad because I think it's a lovely skill, being able to get down, dispossess a fella or block a fella. And come out with the ball and turn defence into attack. I love watching fellas who can still do that, Keith Higgins is a great example of it..."
"What you see now is mass defending as opposed to one-on-one man-marking which I had to do and Tom O'Sullivan and Mike McCarthy and Seamus Moynihan had to do back in the day. That was it like, just mark your man, you had no support, just one-on-one. You learned quickly doing that..."
But even the stickiest defenders have their weak points and Ó Sé name-checks Mayo great Andy Moran as the best man to exploit them.
"There were certain forwards there who were underrated and I'm talking about Andy Moran. He was a nightmare to play against. I marked him in Croke Park in the 2011 semi-final with 50 yards of space in front of you, you were just a sitting duck.
If you don't love Andy Moran, you don't love football🏐
From the start in 2004, the @Ballagh_GAA man made a name for himself, in between he even played wing back and until the end, he was still kicking match-winning scores.
Day 68 without GAA is Andy Moran appreciation day 💫 pic.twitter.com/jmaDtguZfO
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) May 18, 2020
"One of the toughest I'd marked was Andy Moran. Because the thing about Andy was - you know when you were marking a real honest player when they make one run, the ball hasn't come, they make a second run - next thing they're making five runs. Aw, Andy just kept going and right up until the end, you saw how effective he was because he was just incredible at getting out in front of his man. I was just, it was always a really tough day out marking him. Because when he got the ball then, he was taking you on straight away. If he didn't get past you, he'd pass it or he'd kick a point and he invariably did the right thing with the ball. Strong, take you on..."
"You'd really be on your guard when you were marking a forward who had two feet. The likes of Stevie McDonnell now, Bernard and Alan Brogan. They were really hard to mark because you didn't know which side they were going to turn.
You can listen to the full man-marking chat and much more from Monday's GAA Hour Show here.