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'The game has changed, I’ve changed, management has changed': 2008 beating not on Moran's radar

Kevin Moran and Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh are the two only members of the Waterford team that featured nine years ago.

WHEN JOE CANNING arrowed over the game-winning score in the last minute of the All-Ireland semi-final, Kevin Moran on his couch at home enjoying the spectacle.

Kevin Moran Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

The following week, Waterford’s strong finish against Cork sealed a September showdown with the Tribesmen, but it was a result that left much of the Moran clan conflicted.

Kevin’s father Paul is a Tuam native but has long been converted to the Deise ways. Much of the extended family remain staunch Galway supporters though, and there’s been plenty of slagging back and forth over the last couple of weeks.

“It’s been awhile since I was up there (in Galway),” says Moran. “My dad is from Tuam so I think it’s more football country up there. I think he’s having a great buzz about it and I’m trying to stay out of it.

“It’s small banter more so for the aunties and uncles and things like that. It’s great, it adds to the whole thing. It’s what the GAA, I suppose, is all about. There’s always somebody who’s related or connected to a county.

“Hopefully, he’ll have the bragging rights, that’s all I can say, because he’s gone out of there a long time. We’ve only one auntie living in Tuam.

“We still have strong connections in extended family and friends there. I love going to Galway but it’s been awhile since I was in Tuam. It’s nice to be involved more so for him than me.”

Moran has been in the parade on All-Ireland final day before. He was wing-back for the demolition by Kilkenny in 2008, while Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh captained the side from midfield.

They’re the only two members of Derek McGrath’s squad with experience of hurling’s showpiece game, but Moran doesn’t believe it will count for much.

“I wouldn’t draw too much on what happened nine years ago,” he says. “I think the game has changed, I’ve changed, management has changed, everything has changed since then.

“Obviously, there are small things you would like to learn from but being honest with you I haven’t looked into it that much. It’s just another game for us.

Tommy Walsh and Kevin Moran Moran and Tommy Walsh in action during the 2008 All-Ireland final Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“But being honest with you I haven’t looked into it that much. It’s just another game for us. Look, it’s massive and I’m not putting it on the long finger and there’s a super buzz around, but we can’t let it be anything more than what we have been doing.

“That mightn’t be the answer you’re looking for, but that’s the reality.  That’s the way we’re going to prepare for it. That’s the way we’re going to play. The hurdle we’re encountering is the biggest of the year, and they [Galway] are a phenomenal team so far this year and we just have to get ourselves right.”

These are busy days for Moran, who has returned to teaching in De La Salle, Waterford after a summer hiatus. He works alongside his manager McGrath, who is also back after taking parenting leave earlier this year.

McGrath has been subjected to some criticism by pundits about Waterford’s style of play, but Moran says the squad don’t pay much heed to the outside noise.

“If we take what people from the outside are saying, sure it would cripple any man, especially this year. So we have to stick to what we and Derek believe in, what suits us. There are hundreds of people, I’m sure, that are high up who have a lot to say on us and blah-de-blah and those critics are entitled to their opinion.”

“Nowadays, in hurling, it’s very easy to pick up the ball and let rip. The game has changed. If you look back on games that might pop up on your telly from 15 years ago, you mightn’t be laughing, but it’s totally different.”

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