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James Crombie/INPHO Kerry’s David Clifford with his son Ógie and David Moran with his son Eli.
# FOMO
David Moran waiting on call over Kerry future as he skips Dubai trip for Munster final
Moran is grateful to his team-mates for sending Kerins O’Rahillys into Saturday’s final against Newcastle West after his semi-final red card

LAST UPDATE | Dec 7th 2022, 9:34 PM

DAVID MORAN IS waiting until the conclusion of the Munster Club Championship before making a decision on his Kerry future.

Moran will line out at midfield for Kerins O’Rahillys against Newcastle West in Saturday’s final at Páirc Uí Rinn before taking the Christmas break to mull over whether to go again in Kerry’s bid to retain the Sam Maguire Cup.

“I met with Jack [O'Connor] a while back and I said, ‘Look, I’m going to keep playing with the club and probably take Christmas to decide or decide in the new year.’ At the moment, I’m just with the club and trying to bring that as far as I can.”

He speaks, with some irony, about the “advantages of social media” as he’s getting all the updates from his Kerry team-mates enjoying their team holiday in Dubai and Mauritius. Moran, like Shane Ryan (Rathmore) and David Clifford (Fossa), have remained at home for this weekend’s slate of Munster senior, intermediate, and junior club finals.

Is he tormented by social media FOMO – the fear of missing out?

“I have plenty of it,” he laughs, “but it’s great to be in the final now on Saturday.”

One Kerry All-Ireland winner in Dubai is Jack Savage, although O’Rahillys’ top-scorer (1-49 in seven games) moved there last August for the remainder of the year with defender Cormac Coffey. Contrary to initial reports, Savage expects to return home on a full-time basis at Christmas and rejoin the Kerry panel in the new year.

Savage and Coffey, like New York-based Gavin O’Brien, will be flown home for the final, as they were for the semi-final 10 days ago.

It’s a position Moran has been in before. Back in 2009, the Strand Road club qualified for their only previous Munster final against Clare champions Kilmurry-Ibrickane. Moran and Tommy Walsh were in Australia for AFL trials at St Kilda. Walsh was kept on and missed that final. Moran flew back that weekend.

aib-munster-and-ulster-gaa-football-senior-club-championship-finals-media-day Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE David Moran of Kerins O’Rahillys pictured ahead of Saturday's AIB Munster Club SFC semi-final. Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

“It wasn’t my finest hour,” he reflects with a chuckle of that final but before we revisit that day, he insists Savage, Coffey, and O’Brien will be better equipped to prosper on their return.

“The lads have come back in and played well,” says Moran. “Hopefully they’ll come back home the next day or so. It’s great if you can get a couple of days’ break between the travel and stuff so I think they’re back the next couple of days.

“They all got through the game the last day, thankfully. They’re coming back into really exciting times, big games for the club. It’s not your standard games so I’m sure they’re bursting to go home.”

david-moran Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO David Moran in action for Kerins O'Rahillys during the 2009 Munster Club SFC final. Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

As for that dark hour in 2009, they lost that final to a stoppage-time winning point, having played most of the second half with 14 men and even having an injury-time goal ruled out for a square ball. That day has been getting some airing this week.

“I kicked about six wides, which didn’t help things,” says Moran, “but we got a goal late and it was disallowed. In a club run, there’s always a moment of magic or a moment of huge disappointment. It’s obviously been a reference point for the last week or so. We’re just trying to go one step further.”

He felt that same disappointment and fear of letting the team down when sent off after rapid-fire yellow cards inside 22 minutes of their semi-final last month against Éire Óg Ennis. The 14 men of Strand Road eked out a one-point win and Tommy Walsh spoke afterwards about how they “owed it” to Moran for his performances with the club through the years, including a man of the match display in this year’s Club final against Templenoe.

It was Moran’s second time in a year sitting out the majority of a huge game for his club after limping off in the opening minutes of their 2021 Kerry County final loss to crosstown rivals Austin Stacks.

“I was hugely disappointed with it,” says Moran of the red card. “I thought I was going to let down people. With injuries, it’s out of your control, whereas a sending-off is in your control somewhat.

“I was hugely disappointed. You’re worried that it was going to cost the game. I was very thankful the lads dug it out and I wasn’t suspended for the final so it was just a case of major relief after the game and looking forward.”

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Speaking about the evolution of the midfield role in Gaelic football, Moran jokes about the need to get rid of the short kick-outs.

“As big as a change as it’s been for me, it’s been a lot bigger change for goalies. The backs will say they have to be better on the ball now too.

“The game is evolving hugely and constantly. It probably will continue to do so between different fitness levels, different skill sets, the way the games are going, tactics, and then there’s an element of it does go in cycles. I’ve no doubt at some stage there’ll be a new big full-forward and then everyone will be doing long ball into the top of the square like a Kieran Donaghy. That’ll probably come around again.

“It still comes down to the skill set. There’s a huge emphasis on retaining possession now, leading itself into shorter kick-outs or more controlled ways of securing possession or trying to increase the percentages.

“That’s probably going towards more professional sport. Because of the professional environment, everything is monitored so much. It’s gone ultra-professional, which sounds strange for an amateur sport, but since I started playing it is gone that way, especially strength and conditioning, analysis, all that kind of stuff

“But the basics are still the same. It’s not a race. The skill set is still hugely important.”

He’ll be relying on that skill set again on Saturday evening in Cork. The emphasis this year was silverware after a nine-year drought since a 2013 County League title. Having achieved that, the blue-and-white bunting is back up for the chance to double up.

“We’ve been in County League finals for the last two or three years and we just wanted to get some silverware, and thankfully did. At this stage, I wanted to win something as opposed to get a good run in the County Championship again.

“It’s great to be still involved this time of year. It’s a special place to be for a club.”

Even more special if they’re still involved come January.

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