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'I was probably at my lowest then with injuries. I just thought is this ever going to happen?'

David Moran casts his mind back to the last Kerry-Tyrone championship clash.

Kerry footballer David Moran.
Kerry footballer David Moran.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE KERRY-TYRONE modern rivalry has been colourful and intense but for David Moran the chance to sample it first-hand on Sunday is something to relish.

In 2003 and 2005 he was a teenager watching on, in 2008 he was pitched in for a late sub cameo as Kerry tried to save the game and in 2012 he was laid up yet again with his cursed cruciate.

“I think that game in Killarney in 2012 meant a lot, even Paul (Galvin) gave a very emotional interview afterwards,” recalls Moran.

“I was probably at my lowest then from a personal point of view with injuries.

“I just thought is this ever going to happen. Kerry were going so well, it was like ‘Jesus, are you ever going to be a part of this’.

“It’s great then to come back and get this All-Ireland semi-final now so it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”

Moran finally in a period of his career unblemished by injury, capable of unleashing the football potential he always possessed. His emotional embrace with his parents Anne and Denis Ogie after last year’s All-Ireland final win spoke volumes.

“I’d say my father had phantom pains when I had the knee injuries,” laughs Moran.

“It was great for me to be playing but I think all the families go through it just as much.

“It’s even harder, they’re looking through their fingers above in the stand. So look I think we all win together, we all lose together.

“At the end of the day, all my thoughts were about Kerry winning the All-Ireland. It wasn’t about me or someone else. It was literally just trying to get Kerry over the line again.”

With two torn cruciate injuries behind him, feeling the effects of the punishing demands of Gaelic football is inevitable.

“You’d be naturally very sore just from the whole thing,” says Moran.

“I’m living in Cork so the driving, you’d get quite stiff after that. I just try to banish it out of my head, I try to go along as if I never had any knee trouble.

“I don’t want to ever use it as a crutch or anything, I want to forget about it.”

A series of outstanding displays in the past two years has seen parallels drawn between Moran and Kerry midfield icon Darragh Ó Sé.

“It’s a huge honour to be in that company but I’ve a long way to go to be in that kind of company. I also think, look, it’s a team game.

“Even midfield, for the last few games it’s been myself and Anthony (Maher) that have done well but hasn’t just been me and it hasn’t just been him.

“I suppose I’m just going to keep the head down, work as hard as I can and do as well as I can.”

And Tyrone will throw their own unique challenge at Kerry.

“It seems to be that they are very good structurally defensively.

“I think even more so now, I remember when I first came in marking Kevin Hughes, thinking, ‘this is a different ball game altogether, welcome to senior football.’

“But I must say, their kickouts the last day against Monaghan were very good. They dropped a lot of boys back but as soon as Monaghan scored they came back down the field and cancelled it out straight away.

“It will be all hands on deck. It won’t just be me and who I am on, it won’t be the two midfielders.”

– First published 00.05, 22 August

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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