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12th Jul 2023

“Unless you’re totally 100% that you can commit to this, it’s not going to work out” – Moran appreciates O’Connor’s understanding

Niall McIntyre

Jack O’Connor wanted him back.

The whole of Kerry wanted him back. Of course they did, but there comes a time, as David Moran says, when a man has to focus on other priorities.

He has two kids now, is busy in work and, having balanced such commitments with his inter-county career in recent times, now was the time when football had to give.

At 35, he says the prospect of going back to try and win another All-Ireland was a tempting one but having played for Kerry for fifteen years, he’s delighted that he can look back on the career that he’s had.

Not like he’s stepped back fully either.

He’s still playing with Kerins O’Rahillys and was a spectator for most of Kerry’s home games this year, something he has found difficult, especially when his former team-mates were being criticised.

“I almost feel like a family member,” says Moran, “because I’ve known them for so long and we’ve gone on the journey together.

“So when they’re getting criticised or if one of them isn’t playing well, you’re hurting no more than what a family member would be! So that can be difficult to watch.”

“It’s mixed! Sometimes it’s easier when you were playing.”

They’d love to have him playing. Moran showed in a phenomenal display in last year’s All-Ireland club semi-final against Kilmacud Crokes that he still has it football wise, but he’s thankful to Jack O’Connor for understanding his personal reasons for calling it.

“For me, it wasn’t 100% a football decision.

“We had a second child in February, we’re busy with CSG in work, so it wasn’t just a case of ‘can I go in and make a difference?’ I had to weigh things up between work, young family, football, I just didn’t think I was going to be able to keep it all going.

“At this stage of my life, what was I willing to suffer and I just felt it wouldn’t be fair for the other side, say my family and work-life. Football had to give. I had a great career, 15 years, made great friends, had such highs and lows.

“It was getting tough. Once you’ve kids, your priorities have to change.

“Getting older, trying to stay on the field and stay injury free is a lot more time-consuming. Earlier in my career, you wouldn’t even have to warm-up. But I was delighted to do it, was privileged, but there comes a time in your life…”

“I met Jack, and we had a good discussion on it.

“He appreciated I had a lot going on. He said he thought I might be able to add a little bit, but also just said ‘look, it’s gone so serious now, unless you’re totally and utterly 100% that you can commit to this, it’s not going to work out for you.’ He was right, and I agreed with him.”

Na Gaeil club-mates Jack Barry and Diarmuid O’Connor have filled the midfield breach in his absence, and Moran has lots of faith in them.

“I knew it was in safe hands with them too. I played a lot of football with Jack Barry, he was a great team-mate, a great guy to be soldiering with in the middle.”

The Kerry midfield had shipped some criticism before the Tyrone game, but with O’Connor turning in a man-of-the-match display that day, it would appear the tide has turned.

Keenly aware of the talent O’Connor possesses, Moran says it was only a matter of time.

“Diarmuid is a phenomenal talent.

“It’s unrealistic to think someone is going to walk in and dominate an inter-county midfield at 21/22, but he’s in at a good age now, has all the tools, a really good work-ethic, so I think it’s exciting times for him.

“He showed the last day what he can do and he’ll be eager to put another one back to back now.

“He’s a really good athlete, has all the skills.

“He has dominated the Kerry club championship over the last three or four years. It just takes a bit of age and experience.

“People may have been getting impatient because they seen the potential he had, but he’s plenty young, he has many years ahead of him.”

Watch The GAA Hour with Neil McManus here, brought to you by Sure 72 Hour protection.

11 July 2023; A place in the All-Ireland Final officially up for grabs! Former Kerry football star, David Moran pictured today ahead of the 2023 GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi-Final which takes place this Sunday in Croke Park. Moran teamed up with AIB to look ahead to one of #TheToughest matches of the year between Kerry and Derry. For updates on the match, exclusive content and behind the scenes action from the Football Championship, follow AIB GAA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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