Kevin Moran never believed Kerry's golden years could be eclipsed

Dublin great Kevin Moran has revealed his surprise that the current Sky Blues group have managed to eclipse the successful Kerry team of his era, admitting he thought Mick O'Dwyer's team was untouchable.
Kevin Moran never believed Kerry's golden years could be eclipsed
Kevin Moran (left) with former Dublin manager Jim Gavin.

Dublin great Kevin Moran has revealed his surprise that the current Sky Blues group have managed to eclipse the successful Kerry team of his era, admitting he thought Mick O'Dwyer's team was untouchable.

Moran won two All-Irelands with Dublin in the late 1970s though that era was largely dominated by O'Dwyer's Kerry teams who won eight All-Irelands between 1975 and 1986.

Former defender Moran, who famously switched codes and spent 10 years with Manchester United, claimed that achievement of Kerry has now been eclipsed following Dublin's historic five-in-a-row success.

Kerry won eight All-Irelands over 12 seasons, compared to Dublin's more recent seven in nine seasons, though no county had ever won the five-in-a-row with the Kingdom famously coming up just short themselves in 1982.

"I must admit, I'd never have thought there was going to be a better team than the Kerry team I played against, never," said Moran in an interview for Benetti Menswear.

"What that Kerry team achieved, to me, the manner in which they achieved it and the way they did it as well, I thought nobody's going to touch them.

But you've got to hold your hands up to this Dublin team, they have done that and surpassed that by winning the five-in-a-row and as you well know, the only way you engage people or judge people, or judge a team, is by what they win.

"And it's not been easy for Dublin to do it, to muster it up again, the enthusiasm to do it again and again and again.

"It just shows you how good they are and you just don't do that with pure commitment, you've got to have a lot of ability, a lot of skill and the main thing as well they've had, you've got to have the manager at the top. They certainly had him."

Aside from his two All-Irelands, Moran won two FA Cup medals with Manchester United in 1983 and 1985 and played 71 times for the Ireland senior team. Asked which achievement he values the most, he said it's his All-Ireland wins under Kevin Heffernan, particularly the first in 1976.

"Unfortunately we never really won something with Ireland but I did win something with United and then I won something with Dublin," said Moran.

"When you're asked to say which is bigger, the FA Cup medal or the All-Ireland medal, I've always sided on the fact that your first experience is always the one you hold closest and dearest in many ways and being from Dublin, being raised in Dublin and playing in front of your own, for me, priority number one has to be the '76 All-Ireland final (win)."

Moran also spoke glowingly about the fitness of amateur GAA players, insisting the top teams are on an par with the very best professional soccer outfits in the Premier League.

"I can guarantee you, I'd put any money on that Gaelic players in this generation playing now are as fit if not fitter than the top professional players in England," said Moran.

"I look at these (GAA) guys, full-backs being full-forwards, full-forwards being full-backs or half-backs, the movement on the pitch, the fitness levels, these guys aren't just jogging around the place either at times.

"There are full level sprints up, sprints back, get into the play, their fitness levels are just amazing."

Moran said it was the same in the late 1970s when he transferred to United, spending a decade at Old Trafford before moving on to Sporting Gijon and Blackburn Rovers.

"This was the amazing thing, people thinking, 'Oh, it must have been so far ahead', not at all," said Moran of the fitness comparison.

"My fitness level when I went over was as good if not better than anybody else over there. I would have gone over in February '78 too, which would have been not exactly peak season for playing Gaelic football.

"That's why I always said, the fitness level of the players at that time was equal to anything in professional football and even nowadays it's the same."

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