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Andy Moran remains positive

Andy Moran pictured at the Kelloggs Cul Camps launch.

Andy Moran pictured at the Kelloggs Cul Camps launch.

By Paul Keane

There's no way of quantifying it, of course, but those closest to Andy Moran reckon he could very well be the most positive person in the GAA.

"Negative things happen, but I genuinely live my life in a way that if you do the best you can, and you still lose, you actually can't do any more," said Moran.

It's a mindset that has allowed the Ballaghaderreen man to keep bouncing back from despair with Mayo, year after year.

He is 34 now and arguably in the form of his career as the 2017 Footballer of the Year. Another Championship campaign is just around the corner and Moran is visibly excited about the challenge.

One of the reasons he's so upbeat is that while they narrowly avoided relegation in the Allianz League, staying up by dramatically drawing with Donegal, he believes they have uncovered vital new options for the summer.

"You see the development of Eoin O'Donoghue over the last three years, and the commitment he has put in to lifting his weights and getting himself strong enough," said Moran.

"There was no doubt Eoin always had the talent but to put the commitment in, to get himself at the kilos he needs to be to compete against the likes of Paddy McBrearty and these guys, that's where the confidence comes from, that you see these guys are doing what they should be doing.

"Conor Loftus, another player, huge injury problems over the course of his career. He is 21 or 22 and to have the character to come on last year against Kerry and get vital scores and then to do what he did up in Donegal the last day, a real pressure situation, to kick six points. It just gives a lot of confidence to the whole group.

Mayo forward Andy Moran.

Mayo forward Andy Moran.

"Similar to that, Caolan Crowe, who is a bit older but wouldn't have that much experience. He has had a brilliant league campaign without getting the plaudits Eoin has got, and he has been a two year, three-year project. All these things are great to see."

Mayo face a massive challenge first up this summer, a Connacht championship clash with Galway on May 13. It is a grudge clash with all the trimmings but while Moran will be fully tuned in for the occasion, he won't allow it to overpower him.

With maturity, and a young family, has come a more balanced approach from the corner-forward. "I think my little girl gave me and awful lot of perspective on, well, just about everything really," 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 actually switch off because you had someone pulling and dragging out of you to go and play with them and it's just really helped me.

"Yeah, I think that gave me a perspective. It just kind of calmed me down. I was gone a bit mad I think to be honest with the football."

Moran's development into the game's top forward in 2017 also coincided with his decision three years ago to change jobs and open a new gym in Castlebar.

"Without question it made a huge difference to me," said the former sales rep. "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."