Moran regrets ‘disappointing’ black card received against Tyrone
Mayo veteran happy the county discovered ‘serious players’ during league campaign
Andy Moran heads for the dressing room after receiving a black card in the defeat to Tyrone at Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho
Given his innate positivity Andy Moran is not a man liable to suffer many regrets. Only when reflecting on the black card he received in Mayo’s league defeat to Tyrone last month, Moran admits he’s “disappointed” with his own behaviour – yet can’t fully it explain it either.
Mayo were well beaten, 2-14 to 0-8, and Moran’s black card came on 40 minutes for remonstrating with referee Maurice Deegan from Laois, while at the same time barging – accidentally he says – into him.
“To be honest with you I would be disappointed with the way I remonstrated with Maurice at the time,” says Moran, speaking about the incident for the first time. “I took my punishment. I got it. And that’s the way it is.
“It was accidental. I’d be very disappointed. It’s not me, the way I kind of gave out to him. It is what it is. I got my punishment, and I took it, can’t really do much more about it.”
Had Moran being called in on more serious offence, such as interfering with a referee, he may have been facing a 12-week suspension, thus ruling the 2017 Footballer of the Year out of Mayo’s championship opener against Galway.
Again, while not excusing his behaviour, Moran suggests other potential factors, including the passing of his father a few weeks before, may have been at play .
“I had a lot going on in my life at the time, and . . .. you’ve watched me playing for a long time. I don’t think I’ve ever reacted to . . . I’ve never been sent off in my life.
“I think it must have been external things that must have been going on in my life or something. I don’t really know to be honest with you. But no more so than anyone else, I’m not looking for any sympathy. That’s just the way it is. Life waits for no-one. I don’t know, at the time, I can’t really answer the question, if I’m honest.”
That game for a while, he suggests, was continually frustrating from a Mayo perspective [Colm Boyle was also sent off on a second yellow].
“There was a lot of incidents in the game, and it’s just the way it panned out. Leeroy [Lee Keegan] did his shoulder, Cillian [O’Connor] pulled his hamstring and it was just one thing after another. It’s a game that we would be very disappointed as a group to be honest with you.
“I would say there was probably a lot of red cards in the league, in general. What happens, I believe, in these conditions is the ball slows down; there’s more physical contact; where before, you go to Croke Park, you put the ball out in front of your man, your man is gone, you’ve no chance to hit him.
“Now, if the ball is put on the ground at all, you’ve to bend, you’ve to stoop, there’s someone coming in hitting you. I think it leads to more aggression. If that type of coming-together happens, then all of a sudden there could be a half-melee or a one-on-one battle and I think that leads to red cards.
“Do I think it’s malicious or anything towards us? No, I don’t . . . that wouldn’t be a general consensus amongst us anyway.”
Mayo – as Mayo do – bounced back from that Tyrone defeat to win their final round game over Donegal, this ensuring their Division One status for another year.
“Yeah, we went up to Donegal, we had no Chris Barrett, Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins, Cillian O’Connor, Lee Keegan. Huge players for us, but we just had the mantra to keep in the game.
“I think it is fair to say that Donegal shouldn’t be in Division two, they tried out a lot of young players, were building a new side. We knew that they were going to be hard to beat in Ballybofey, it is eight years they haven’t been beat up there. We knew that we just had to keep in the game and we would get the chances at the end.
“We were, let’s be honest, we were very lucky, Kevin McLoughlin produced a bit of magic at the end and that got us over the line but we did have a mantra to stay in the game. And that’s the way it transpired. But that comes with experience and a bit of confidence within the group, that we were always going to be there.
“I was saying even before the Donegal game, if it did happen that we went down, that if we look at it honestly and look at what we are trying to do for championship, we did gain some serious players.”