Having won two All-Ireland Senior Football medals, Dublin’s Kevin Moran went on to enjoy a glittering career with Manchester United and the Republic of Ireland. Seán Creedon met him for a chat…
Down through the years we have seen examples of Irish sports people who achieved success in more than one sport but if you are looking for someone who played two sports at the top level, Kevin Moran is your man.
A winner of two All-Ireland Senior Football medals with Dublin in 1976 and 1977, Kevin switched to soccer in the late 1970s and proved the doubters wrong when he won two FA Cup medals for Manchester United. He also earned 71 senior caps for the Republic of Ireland, scoring six goals.
Cast your mind back to the opening minutes of the 1976 All-Ireland football final between Dublin and Kerry. Moran, who had lined out at centre half-back, moved into midfield, took a pass from Brian Mullins and soloed towards the Hill 16 goal. He worked a ‘one-two’ with Bernard Brogan and as he reached Kerry’s 21-yard line, took a drop kick that whizzed wide of Paudie O’Mahony’s goal.
It would have been one of the great Gaelic football goals of all time, as no Kerry player had touched the ball in that first 30 seconds of play. The move signalled the arrival of 20 year-old Kevin Moran as a rising star in Gaelic football.
Kevin was reared in the Rialto area of Dublin and attended James’s Street CBS. At the time his father, Jim, a Leitrim native, worked in insurance and helped out in the toy shop run by his wife Maura in Meath Street in the heart of the Liberties.
In 1968 the family moved out of town and bought a newsagent’s shop on the Long Mile Road, where they lived ‘above the shop.’ The ‘Kokonut’ was next door to Drimnagh Castle CBS, where Kevin got his secondary education. The shop is still going strong, managed by Kevin’s nephew Michael, with Kevin’s sister Bernadette and her husband Michael helping out.
Shortly after the family moved out to Walkinstown Kevin’s father died suddenly, leaving Kevin’s mother Maura to bring up eight children on her own. Kevin said, ‘‘I was only 12 when my father died and it was tough for my mother, but we all helped out in the shop, which was open from 7am to 9pm seven days a week.’’
After completing the Leaving Cert, Kevin studied Commerce in UCD and managed to combine playing soccer for the college and Gaelic Football for his local club, Good Counsel. He also played soccer for schoolboy club Rangers and Bohemians for whom he made one League of Ireland appearance against Shelbourne in April 1975.
During the summer of 1975, which Kevin spent working in New York, he played Gaelic football for Leitrim, an experience that rekindled his interest in Gaelic.