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Club is family for Burrishoole

Sport

FAMILY TIES Burrishoole GAA club legend Peter Moran is pictured in Tiernaur with his grand-daughter Ava Kelly, a member of the club’s senior ladies team. Pic: Conor McKeown

Peter Moran is a proud grandfather and clubman

Feature
Michael Gallagher

IT’S Thursday morning in the village of Sandhill on the shores of Clew Bay and a vast expanse of heaven stretches majestically in front of the Kelly homestead. Cast an eye to the left and one can see Croagh Patrick, Murrisk and Louisburgh; out in front is Clare Island, Achill and America; and to the right is Ballycroy, Mulranny and Tiernaur. One would be hard pressed to find a more stunning vista on a November morning anywhere on Earth.
Greeting The Mayo News is the woman of the house, Orla Kelly, and she’s soon joined at the entrance by her daughter, Ava, the talented Burrishoole footballer and her father, legendary Burrishoole clubman Peter Moran.
It’s immediately obvious that grandfather and granddaughter have a special bond, all wrapped up in the white and green of their beloved Burrishoole GAA.
“We met in the hall down the road there in 1958 and founded Burrishoole,” began Peter.
“I’m proud of many things in life, but that’s one of the greatest. This current ladies team have three strong links to that meeting. Aisling McNulty’s grandfather, Pat, was there; Pat Cannon was there, and his niece Maria is playing and I was there and Ava is playing,” he told The Mayo News as he recalled the mighty men who created their own niche of sporting history that night.
In the decades since ‘58, Burrishoole overcame the scourge of emigration and tight playing numbers to bring home county Junior and Intermediate titles and came within a kick of a ball of the great Crossmolina team in the 2000 Mayo senior final.
Magical memories have been made, mighty deeds have been immortalised, but now a new chapter is being written in the history of the Clew Bay club — a story of a group of young women playing flowing football that has already delivered Burrishoole’s first Mayo senior title.
“There’s so much excitement about the girls and what they’re achieving,” explained Peter. “To win a county title and now to be looking forward to a Connacht final is mighty. The Connacht semi-final in Newport last week was a special day for the players and the club. Things have come a long way from that night in Tiernaur Hall in ’58.”
The current Burrishoole ladies team is managed by Colm McManamon, and it wasn’t long before Peter Moran was telling The Mayo News about the great bond sporting bond which exists between the families as tales of history, fun and football tumbled forth.
“The first football we ever got in our house came from Colm’s uncle, Willie McManamon. Jack Mahon, the great Galway footballer, once said that Willie McManamon was, pound-for-pound, the best footballer ever to wear the blue of St Jarlath’s.
“He brought us the ball and it was so precious that even if we had shoes, we’d take them off to kick it. We minded it for years and if any of the seams got loose Pat Cannon’s mother would stitch it up perfectly again. “That’s how important playing football is around here and that’s why I’m so proud of Ava and every one of the girls and the management too,” he added as countless names like Sean Meenaghan, Larry McGovern, Seamus Daly and many more selfless men and women danced through the air.
Peter Moran is a man with a great love of family, place, and his GAA club. He has a treasure-trove of memories which deserve to be recorded for posterity, and one particular story epitomised why there’s a suspicion he has white and green blood flowing through the veins.
“I was what you might describe as a ‘utility player.’ I spent more time as a sub than anything else, but that never bothered me. Burrishoole was, and is, my sporting life - that’s the way it is. I played for as long as I could and bumped into great lads along the way.”
Peter literally bumped into one footballer who didn’t go on to enjoy a long career in the club jersey.
“There was a fine lad with us one time and his mother didn’t like him playing football because she wanted him to be a doctor. I accidentally banged into him one day in training and there was blood all over the place. When the mother saw him, that was the end of his football. He turned out to be a great doctor though!”
Next Sunday Peter will watch proudly from the stand in Charlestown when his beloved granddaughter and the young women from Burrishoole go in search of further glory. At some stage his mind will wander back to that famous night in 1958 when young men with great foresight gathered in Tiernaur Hall. The journey has been a golden one and it’s far from finished yet.

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