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Andy Moran: 'The more pundits make noise, the more they get heard'

The usual suspects lined up to stick the boot into Mayo after their Connacht semi-final loss to Roscommon.

ANDY MORAN SITS down in front of a table with five microphones pointed in his direction and braces himself.

“Go easy on me…”, he says, half-grimacing. 

Andy Moran Andy Moran during Mayo's Connacht semi-final loss to Roscommon. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Sponsorship duties must be fulfilled, even coming off the back of Mayo’s surprise Connacht semi-final defeat to Roscommon on Saturday night. Hailing from a border town, the defeat hit Moran particularly hard.

“Roscommon, it’s a tough one for me, I come from Ballaghaderreen so it was a tough game to lose,” he reflects.

“It was a strange game. Probably very similar to the games against Galway over the last few years. I think Roscommon played well and I don’t think we played very well so it was the perfect mix of things to happen. 

“Fair play to Roscommon, they were so efficient with their attacks and they deserved to win so best of luck to them in the final.”

The usual suspects lined up to stick the boot into Mayo after the weekend. Joe Brolly made headlines on The Sunday Game by describing James Horan’s team as “the nation’s favourite tragic comedy”.

At 35-years-old and in the twilight of his career, Moran is long enough in the tooth to stay away from that sort of reactionary punditry. One week you’re the nation’s darlings, the following week you’re a bunch of mentally fragile no-hopers.

“Years ago I used to see it. I genuinely don’t see it anymore. I’d be in work on a Monday morning and someone will say, ‘Did you see this?’

“And you can’t really say anything about it. I actually don’t watch it (The Sunday Game). I’ve two kids, we’ve two businesses, we have a lot going on. So it’s just about getting on with it.”

SuperValu GAA Sponsorship Launch 2019 Moran was in attendance at SuperValu's launch of their 10th year as sponsor of the All-Ireland senior football championship. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

It all comes with the territory of operating under the national spotlight.

“Do we get a lot of analysis? We do. I think we’re good for the game in terms of our supporters. Wherever we go in the qualifiers they’ll be coming with us. We do attract a lot of attention but isn’t that some of the craic of it too?

“If you weren’t getting the attention you’d be giving out as well. It is what it is. You’ve to take the good with the bad. They’re going to see us plenty over the next couple of weeks so we better be ready for it. 

“The more pundits make noise, the more they get heard. I suppose it’s different for me. I’m 35, I’ve probably seen a lot of it in the past. It might be different for a 23 or 24-year-old. But for me, it genuinely doesn’t make any difference. They say their piece.

“When we were young we used to watch Match of the Day, you had (Alan) Hansen…it’s the same thing. It’s the exact same thing. You can either take it and use it to benefit yourself or you just don’t listen to it.

“If you can convince yourself the stuff you’re doing is right, you don’t really have to listen to it. It’s more supporters’ analysis if I’m being honest. But if I was mid-20s I might take it a bit different, you know?

“Years ago I just had heaps of time and I could sit down and look at this like but there comes a point when you don’t really have time to look at it.

“You know what’s important to you, you know what’s working in terms of your game and where you need to go to and then you just move on.”

Aidan O'Shea and Tadgh O'Rourke Tadgh O'Rourke of Roscommon gets to a high ball first. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Matthew Ruane and Darren Coen were the new faces who started in Castlebar, but Moran doesn’t worry about the rookies in the squad succumbing to criticism outside their bubble. 

“With ye guys (the media), a couple of years ago it used to be just down our side: the Western People, the Connacht Telegraph and Mayo News. Now you just have everyone so if you are looking at someone, you got to be willing to take it on.

“My view of it, if you are willing to take the good stuff that is said about you, you better be willing to take the bad stuff about you. So it’s just kind of about staying away from it all but in terms of young fellas having to learn it, I think the younger guys are way smarter than we were 10 or 15 years ago.

“They’re way more savvy in terms of what’s happening on social media and TV. I think they are probably a bit smarter than we were 10 or 15 years ago.”

Mayo’s qualifier run will begin in four weeks and Moran is looking forward to the week-on-week action. They’ve gone this route in each of the last three seasons, making it to the All-Ireland final via the backdoor in 2016 and 2017, so it’s not exactly uncharted territory.

After briefly replacing Darren Coen as a blood-sub in the opening period against the Rossies, he arrived off the bench as a 45th-minute substitute for Evan Regan.

He kicked a point but was blocked down in the closing stages by Niall Daly, which started a move that resulted in Fintan Cregg’s winner. Moran was then black-carded in the 73rd minute to conclude an eventful evening. 

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“I still think I’m good enough. I wouldn’t be back if I didn’t. I still think I have a lot to offer in whatever way James wants to use me. I think I’ve proven that over the league and obviously the last day it didn’t go so well, but up until that point it was going really well.

James Horan Mayo boss Horan. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I still think I have a lot to offer,” he says. “I wouldn’t be back if I didn’t.

“I’ve got challenges ahead of me like we’re not getting any younger you know? These days are great days, great days. Even last week, can you learn from it? Of course, you can.

“The colour and the atmosphere and all that, they are the days you are going to miss.

“Thank God we’ve four weeks. You just have to go away and give each game respect and just try to get yourself to the Super 8s.

“Once you get yourself to the Super 8s, you’re back to square one. The championship and the format has gotten a lot of stick over the last few weeks. For us, there’s two separate championships.

“You play the Connacht championship and try your best to win it. Now you’re just in the All-Ireland series and we’ve two more games to get to where we need.

“If you look at it like that I think you’ll be fine. But as we showed two years ago, you have to treat every game with respect. We got brought to extra-time by Cork and Derry and we really had to try hard to win those games.

“We’ll have to do the same again and try to work our way back.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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