GOING THEIR SEPARATE WAYS?Mayo manager James Horan shakes hands with his New York counterpart Ian Galvin.?Pic: Sportsfile
Moran and Mayo take first step
THE Mayo squad had a few days to kill in New York before Sunday’s game rolled around and many of them whiled away the time shopping, sightseeing and people watching around Times Square.
Not Andy Moran though.
The 30-year-old captain spent most of the 48-hour build-up in his room in the Park Central Hotel in Manhattan, resting up, stretching, and getting his mind and body right for the start of his 11th Connacht Championship campaign.
Sure enough, when Moran came sprinting on to the field at Gaelic Park on Sunday, his face was the picture of concentration. There was a job to be done.
Or to use the new catchphrase of choice in the Mayo camp, ‘Step One’ of this summer’s championship had to be taken.
Afterwards, as he signed autographs and posed for pictures, the Ballagh’ native was already looking to ‘Step Two’ next month.
“I remember coming out here in 2004 and I could walk around and we could do whatever we wanted, as a young lad of 19 or 20.
“But the last three or four days were spent in the hotel room. I wanted to rest the legs, make sure I didn’t pull anything.
“The process was good today, and we got the job done.
“When you come out here it’s about getting past step one and we’ve done that. Now we’re going to be in either Hyde Park or Páirc Seán [Carrick-on-Shannon] and that’s a test in itself.
“Páirc Seán is a tight pitch, Hyde Park is a bit tighter, with a big wind, and we have to be ready.
“We’ll have somebody down watching the game next week, I think it’s going to be a very tight game to be honest, so we’ll just have to wait and see. It’s going to be a tough game.”
As for Moran’s third time to come up against New York in a championship match, the Mayo skipper was pleased with both the collective display and his individual performance.
Posted at full-forward, he played for 54 minutes, scored two points, and looked lively.
“I’m happy enough, I’m happy to be part of the fifteen, and it’s nice to get a few scores,” he admitted.
“From one to nine New York were very organised. They always had two extra backs so we had to be patient.
“What you have to do is hold on to the ball, break it down, and then push on in the last twenty minutes.
“That’s what we did, and we’re very happy with the final scoreline.
“We went out to London in the Connacht Championship in 2011, and there could be books written about that yet,” he laughed.
Before he left to go and tog in, and hit New York city for a rare night out before flying back to Ireland, Moran was asked for an update on Kevin McLoughlin who left the field injured during the first half.
“I think Kevin has joined Barry Moran in the broken nose club, but he’ll be fine. He’s a hardy boyo.”
Meanwhile, New York manager Ian Galvin was understandably ‘disappointed’ with the outcome.
He also said he expected Mayo to feature at the business end of the All-Ireland series again, and was keen to focus on the positive in relation to his own team.
“People will look at the final scoreline and say, ‘New York were hockeyed again’ but we feel we put in a performance today that maybe we weren’t expected to, and that the scoreline didn’t reflect.
“But it was great to watch the kids afterwards meeting the stars over from Ireland, stars they see on TV, and it’s very important that this tradition continues.”