"A few tears shed" as Mickey Moran says his goodbyes to the Kilcoo players 3 months ago

"A few tears shed" as Mickey Moran says his goodbyes to the Kilcoo players

In a tearful meeting with the Kilcoo players, Mickey Moran told them last night that he was stepping down as their manager.

And though unconfirmed, the word is that they'll be the last team he will ever manage. It's been some innings.

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Having began his managerial career way back in the 1980s, when he became one of Derry's youngest ever managers, Moran has been going strong for the last five decades. In the mean-time, he has managed Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Mayo while in the club game, he had a hugely successful spell with Slaughtneil.

He was the coach, Eamonn Coleman's right-hand-man, when Derry won the All-Ireland in 1993 but, having won counties and provincial titles at club level and having had loads of success in the inter-county game, there remained a box, before he came to Kilcoo, that he hadn't yet ticked.

Mickey Moran had never managed a team to an All-Ireland title.

That all changed last month when, on a glorious Saturday in Croke Park, everything eclipsed in Kilcoo's miraculous All-Ireland club final win over Kilmacud Crokes. It was long after the final whistle, with the stands emptying and the night fading, when Moran walked the pitch by himself and kissed the spot of grass Jerome Jonhston kicked the winning goal from.

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And if that's one of his final memories in the game, what a memory it is.

It was last night when Moran said goodbye to the players that brought him up the famous steps. Kilcoo chairman Roger Morgan told the Irish News that there were a “were a few tears shed” but that he leaves as a Kilcoo legend, and a man the players "absolutely adored."

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"They would have done anything for him," Morgan continued.

It wasn't long after the final whistle of the All-Ireland club when, speaking in the bowls of the Hogan Stand, Conor Laverty mentioned an early promise the Kilcoo boys made not long after Moran came in as manager.

‘That man’s going out the lane as an All-Ireland winner’

And that he does.

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His right hand-men Conleth Gilligan and Richie Thornton take the reins now, but there'll be no replacing that man Mickey Moran. Because he'll go down as one of the most respected and admired coaches ever.