At the ninth time of asking, Andy Moran was a winner in a national senior final on Sunday — and boy did it feel sweet.
Not that he expected to be as sweet as it was, mind.
“If you asked me (before the game) what does this mean to me, I’d have said: ‘It’s just another game’,” admitted the 35-year-old, a second-half substitute who set up Ciarán Treacy for the clinching goal in additional time.
“But then Treacy bangs the ball into the net, the ref blows it up and the green and red of Mayo goes then and you’re thinking: ‘That’s a different story’.
“When the final whistle goes there, there’s a massive sense of relief.
“Let’s be honest about it. I’m playing since 2003, I made my debut in 2003 in the league up in Down. Is there a sense of relief there? Yes.
"And to win a National League — I still remember losing one in ’07 to Donegal, and that was a hard one to take. I suppose we’re here 12 years later winning one, so it’s great.”
To be able to share a winning moment on the Croke Park field with his eldest child Charlotte made it even sweeter.
In the immediate aftermath of their recent All-Ireland final losses, she was what put things in perspective for her father — so for them to actually have silverware to hold, along with her younger brother Ollie, was special.
“Charlotte, we’ve got a lovely little collage of the two of us on the pitch after losing finals, so it’s nice to have a cup.
"I suppose when she was born it was a dream to put her into the cup and get the picture of her, but she’s a bit big for that now. Having the two kids there, it was lovely.”
James Horan’s call to get the band back together last autumn was obviously appealing for Moran, but he had plenty to consider with family life and his burgeoning gym business.
Already, he feels the decision to stay on has been justified.
“I think the big problem I have is that I love playing for Mayo, I love football, but life takes over in terms of wife, kids, job, and stuff like that.
"Does it vindicate staying on? Yes, it does, 100% it vindicates it. But, you know, it’s a long summer.
“It was the first winter I ever gave it (retirement) a thought and I was very grateful to James when he rang me to say: ‘Listen, we want you back in’.
"I just had to think about it for a couple of weeks, I found it hard to go back training, but then it just all started moving again and it’s difficult and I need to adjust my training from what I used to do in terms of going five days a week.
"That doesn’t happen anymore because work is too busy and life is too busy. But the boys are very good to me, they look after me a lot.”
The unselfish nature of Moran appreciates that there are a couple of young forwards who have put their hand higher than him for Championship starts, namely Darren Coen and James Carr who, he highlighted, scored the first three points of the second half against Kerry.
“I think if you were picking the team now in the morning without question you’d have Mattie Ruane there, Fionn McDonagh who had a fantastic National League until he got injured, Michael Plunkett.
"You’ve James Carr today, it’s great to see James, James had a lot of problems with his hips over the last couple of years but it’s great to see him playing and, in that third quarter, really turning it on.
“Darren Coen was excellent last week against Drew Wylie. It’s unreal, the competition is huge.
"But I said it before — it’s not just one year.”
GAA podcast: Quirke and Dalo's Allianz League Review, with Ger Cunningham and John Divilly