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Moran still has unfinished business as eventful season draws to a close

Decorated Kerry stalwart looking to add a Munster senior club medal to his already impressive collection of silverware

Beginnings and endings, nothing ever stands still.

David Moran has not travelled to Dubai and Mauritius with the Kerry senior footballers for the team holiday to celebrate their All-Ireland triumph. That is not to say he hasn’t been aware of what’s going on, the blindingly bright sunshine pics have a way of finding their way to frigid Tralee.

Moran is currently preparing for Kerins O’Rahilly’s AIB Munster club senior football final against Newcastle West this Saturday at Páirc Uí Rinn, 7.30pm. But there were other reasons he was always going to be staying put. His wife, Sinéad, is due their second child in less than eight weeks.

“I would love to have gone but it just wasn’t on the cards,” says Moran. “Hopefully there will be better things here.”

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His boy, Eli, will turn two in January so these are busy times on and off the field for the three-time All-Ireland winner

“Number two, apparently this is game-changer, even though I would have said that the first time as well,” he smiles.

Which takes us to the future. Moran is 34 now. He made his senior championship debut for Kerry in 2008 and has won his trio of All-Ireland medals across three decades – 2009, 2014 and 2022.

He has had a number of serious injuries during his career, including two cruciate tears. Last December, in the early stages of the county final, he suffered a groin injury – tearing the abductor off the bone. He would not play again until May, coming off the bench in Kerry’s Munster SFC win over Cork.

Moran had a positive impact on Kerry’s run through the rest of the summer, delivering his best display against Mayo, though he was substituted at half-time in the All-Ireland final. So a decision has to be made on 2023.

“I have spoken to Jack, I just said I will play with the club and I don’t know how long that will go on, hopefully it will be for another while,” says Moran. “I will take Christmas and we will put it down over Christmas or early in the New Year.”

Clearly, the end is closer than the beginning. But if he was to throw his lot back in with Kerry, this current club run would probably be the reason behind going that route. If he had spent the last few weeks sitting at home watching the World Cup on TV, with the boots packed away for the winter, the decision might have been made for him.

“Last year I was very iffy about going back,” he admits. “But the fact that I was playing right up until December last year was a huge plus because it wasn’t as if I had finished in October and had two months off trying to keep myself ticking over.

“At my age it’s very difficult to take a huge period out and then go back to try and go through preseason or intercounty training and trying to get the body to hold up.

“Apart from getting to the level of guys who are maybe seven, eight or 10 years younger, trying to stay injury-free is probably even a bigger challenge.

“So, to answer your question, yes, in the sense that I’m still playing at the moment and still staying fit and stuff. That’s probably an advantage, or maybe it’s just keeping that decision open as opposed to if I was finished two months ago it might be a very easy decision.”

And then there is the fear of missing out. Kerry, he knows, will be in the mix for All-Ireland glory again next year. Moran’s friend and club colleague, Tommy Walsh, retired after the 2021 season. Walsh was not there for this year’s Sam Maguire success.

At the moment Kerry are in a very good position and you have to expect that if you retire they’re going to be in the shake-up,” says Moran.

“Whether they win it or whether they’ll be in finals, you’ll still hopefully be going to Croke Park as a supporter or a player at some stage. Obviously when you win it, it’s difficult for someone who has retired one year out.

“I think it will be a case that I’ll have to write down all the pros and cons – and that would definitely be a con. If Kerry win an All-Ireland next year, how would I feel?”

All this, he stresses, is beyond Saturday. And right now anything beyond Sunday is a mystery. The club have only ever played in one previous Munster senior club final, losing to Kilmurry-Ibrickane in 2009.

In the days before that match, Moran was in Australia hoping to earn an AFL contract from St Kilda. But when none materialised he flew home to feature in the provincial final.

“I was told on Thursday that I wasn’t getting a contract. They offered me if I wanted to go on a holiday around Australia or stay on training or whatever, but I said ‘I have to get out of here as fast as you can put me on a plane’.

“My father was manager of the club team at the time. I think I got three seven-hour flights and got in maybe on the Friday, late. I kicked about six wides and we lost by a point, so it wasn’t my finest hour.”

He gets the chance on Saturday to rewrite the ending on that one.

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times