After four failed attempts to overcome Dublin in All-Ireland finals, Andy Moran reckons he’s uncovered what it will take for Mayo to beat them: 20 points.
That’s the magic number that the 2017 Footballer of the Year believes they will need to amass if they’re lucky enough to get another crack at Dublin later this year.
Mayo did score a creditable 1-16 in last year’s final, a figure that would have been enough to win any of the previous nine deciders but Dublin, of course, registered 1-17, hitting that all important 20-point barrier.
Moran also noted that when Dublin were beaten in a national final under Gavin, last year’s league showpiece, it took 0-20 from Kerry to get the job done that day.
“Against Dublin, I’ve always had this 20-point marker in my head,” said Moran, whose Mayo have registered 1-14 (2013), 0-15, 1-14 (2016) and 1-16 (2017) in All-Ireland finals against Dublin.
“If you get to 20 points you think you have a chance to beat them and we got to 19 last year. It was the highest we had got to, I think we got to 1-14 and 15 points previously. We go that 1-16 last year and they still could get to 20 points so the only team that have beaten Dublin have got 20 points.
“That was Kerry in the national league last year and I think that’s where you need to get to.”
Putting together a tally of that size against Dublin requires a team to be brave and go for broke, something Mayo have consistently done.
“Yeah, you have to. Galway went more defensive against them last week and they (Dublin) still get 18 points, and 18 points is hard to get on a good day and they had three good goal chances. In my view, the way the game has gone and the way Dublin has gone... we don’t play defensive football, we never have and you can’t if you are going to get the big one.
“As I said, the only team that has beaten Dublin got 20 points in the national league final.”
Mayo will need Moran to remain at his peak to help them reach that figure if they do get to play Dublin again this year.
He turns 35 in November but is in the form of his career and attributed his Indian summer to a couple of factors; jacking in a job as a sales rep three years ago and setting up his own gym and also starting a family.
The new job is the easier of the two to explain.
“Without question it made a huge difference to me,” he said. “The simple fact is that driving never really affected me and sitting in that upright position, until I started getting injured. Once I started getting injured then I couldn’t recover. As soon as I started the gym three years ago now in June, I felt I was back to myself.
“My fitness took off in 2016 and 2017 went well. So it has really helped me both physically and psychologically.”
Having children, Moran’s little girl Charlotte is three and his son Ollie is 13 weeks, has given him a healthier mindset too.
“I think my little girl gave me an awful lot of perspective on... everything,” said Moran.
“Football was way too important to me. When I was a young buck football was everything to me. Then my little girl came along and it just kind of softened me a tiny bit. When I got home I could switch off because you had someone pulling and dragging out of you and you had to go and play with them and it’s just really helped me.
“I think that gave me more perspective. It just kind of calmed me down. I was gone a bit mad I think with the football.”
Moran didn’t look out of place in Mayo, a county he reckons is mad about the game generally. Even if they do win the All-Ireland this year, for instance, he reckons they’d still find something to complain about.
“If we won an All-Ireland in September, Mayo people would be giving out about something in October!” he smiled at yesterday’s launch of the Kellogg’s GAA Cul Camps 2018. “It’s football, it’s an addiction, it’s what they love. We were talking to some of the guys there, Niamh Hegarty from Donegal was saying, ‘Mayo people are mad, like’. And we are, we’re a bit mad. It’s a nice way to be.”
Mayo face Galway in a crucial Connacht championship encounter next month and were buoyed by their dramatic draw with Donegal which secured top flight league football for 2019.
“To get that draw up there in Donegal was a huge psychological boost,” said Moran.
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