All-Ireland winning manager John O'Mahony has paid tribute to Mayo's Andy Moran, who has retired from inter-county football, describing him as "a brilliant servant of club and county".
The 2017 Footballer of the Year announced his decision on the Second Captains podcast in an interview with Richie Sadlier. Moran, who is 35, leaves after a distinguished career that also earned him two All Stars.
“My career is finished as of yesterday really,” he said on ‘The Player’s Chair’ to be broadcast on Tuesday morning.
“I had a conversation with Jamesie [Horan] yesterday. I let him know that it was finished. I’m now refocusing and my mind is clear. I left the WhatsApp groups last night. Some great friends, some great memories. It sounds silly but that was the toughest moment of the lot.”
Moran was a highly decorated player with eight Connacht medals, a national league title as well as his personal accolades in a 17-year career that saw him play in five All-Ireland finals which yielded a sequence of agonisingly close defeats.
His first championship appearance was in 2004 in New York and he would be unlucky with injury, damaging his cruciate in 2012 when captain, just as Mayo were en route to that year's All-Ireland final.
O’Mahony and Moran go back a long way to the latter’s school days in St Nathy’s as well as in the local Ballaghaderreen club and the Mayo seniors.
“I had him as a fourth year in St Nathy’s when we won the All-Ireland colleges B title. He missed a penalty in the first half of the final and then scored one in the second half so even then he was showing leadership and resilience. He has been a brilliant servant of club and county.
“His championship appearances (85) make him Mayo’s most selected player, taking over from James Nallen.
“I think he symbolised the positivity of the Mayo team and if you like, their bounce-back-ability. He was always setting aside the disappointment and looking to next year.
“I thought he might call it a day after last year but he was right to persevere and won a national league this season, playing a significant role after coming off the bench in the final.”
He switched from wing back to the forwards as his career progressed. Coming into the All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin in 2006, he told then manager Mickey Moran that he’d get him a goal, which he did and it proved the pivotal score in a famous victory.
Busy with his Castlebar fitness centre, The Movement, and a young family, he has decided to bring down the curtain on an immensely popular county career.