The reason I got into the GAA was because I had a lot of fun playing it. As I got older I realised it was more than a bit of fun, it was my life. I’m currently playing for the Dublin senior football team and working as a Games Promotion Officer (promoting Gaelic). Football has given me the opportunity to make something of myself and without football, I’m not too sure what road I would have went down.
Last year, due to problems arising with my club, I was suspended for a year. This was honestly the toughest year of my life. From playing a sport everyday for the last 20 years, to being told that I was no longer allowed take part in any activities was a living nightmare. I was still lucky enough to be able to coach the sport and try to progress the kids onto becoming the next superstar, that they dream to be. But away from work I was a broken man – I tried to remain upbeat, but the truth is that I was getting angrier at myself every day for what had happened.
Thankfully, however, a major turning point for me was Colie Moran. Colie is a gentleman and a true leader – he’s also had more operations than Evil Knievel!
Whenever he returned from injury, he came back more optimistic, determined and ready to face the next challenge head on. When Colie was told he had to get a hip replacement at the age of 29 (an operation that would effectively end his career), he didn’t go into hibernation. Instead, he knew he could still have a role in helping Dublin reach long awaited All-Ireland glory. From playing with Dublin for the last ten years, Colie went on to the back-room team and became a link with players and management.
The thing I will always remember is, that even though I wasn’t allowed play, I was still able to take part in some training sessions; despite this though I was moping around for the whole world to see and looking for sympathy from everyone I met – I surrounded myself with people who always had a positive thing to say about me.
Not Colie though, he knew his career was over, but he also knew he had a key role to play, which was to share his knowledge of the game and bring on players who were only starting out. Talking to Colie helped put my own life into perspective – I witnessed all the good he was doing and reflected on all the bad I was doing; I knew I needed to change, so I asked Colie for help.
He started doing extra training with me before training started, he told me how I could push other lads on and that my reward was knowing that I pushed the other midfielders hard in training, that they would be so well prepared going into every game.
I know my situation was far from the same as Colie’s and that I was probably making mountains from mole hills, but something has stuck with me since then – you never know what’s going to happen and when something does happen, you have very little control over it. However, you can control what you do next!
Soon after Colie took the job as football co-ordinator for Dublin – I honestly can’t think of anyone better for the role. He has a lot to offer any player coming through and has the right attitude that made him a favourite on the Hill. Everyone you meet who knows Colie will tell you that he is a positive person, hard working, honest, and a gentleman. He was all the inspiration I needed to sort myself out.