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Thursday 14 November 2019

Con will be back soon: Moran

Cuala star believes O'Callaghan will be in his club colours again before end of year

CENTRALLY INVOLVED: Seán Moran, who was at the launch of the AIB Camogie and Club
Championships, believes Con O’Callaghan won’t be out long with his injury. Photo: SPORTSFILE
CENTRALLY INVOLVED: Seán Moran, who was at the launch of the AIB Camogie and Club Championships, believes Con O’Callaghan won’t be out long with his injury. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Seán Moran is confident that Con O'Callaghan will play for Cuala again "before the year is out" despite last Sunday's injury scare in Parnell Park.

It is testament to O'Callaghan's status just now as the GAA's most prodigious dual player that he was the most talked-about individual from the Dublin SHC final despite playing just three minutes of it.

Partly that was due to the video clip which quickly circulated of the injury that had O'Callaghan writhing in pain behind the St Brigid's goals after scoring the opening goal of the match.

But undoubtedly O'Callaghan's seemingly undiminished ability to electrify games with a hurley in his hand, despite long periods of inactivity in the sport, has made him an annual talking point at this part of the GAA season.

The injury, Moran puts down to a "mistimed tackle," from his Dublin team-mate, Alan Nolan.

"Luckily, there's no huge injury to Con," he observed.

Pocket

"It was lucky enough in that respect. But, yeah, it was just 'next man up' after that happened. We didn't want to lose focus of what we had set out to do.

"Con will be back. He's an incredible athlete. He'll be back soon."

As it happened, Moran was centrally involved in the play that led to the injury.

After intercepting an intended pass into the St Brigid's inside line, Moran instinctively drove a ball into the green pocket of space in front of O'Callaghan, who feinted, then spun the other way and sprinted towards goal in a manner uncannily similar to his favourite move with a football in his hands.

WINNING FEELING: Seán Moran (5) celebrates with his Cuala team-mates after their Dublin success at Parnell Park. Photo: SPORTSFILE
WINNING FEELING: Seán Moran (5) celebrates with his Cuala team-mates after their Dublin success at Parnell Park. Photo: SPORTSFILE

"He's a good man to give a ball inside to," says Moran with more than a pinch of understatement.

"He's an exceptional hurler and footballer. He's had an exceptional few years. He's an incredible lad. I'm sure we'll see him back before the year is out."

It goes without saying that after his finest individual season with Jim Gavin's five -in-a-row winning Dublin footballers, the Footballer of the Year nominee won't be available to the county's hurlers any time soon. Moran says he's just "lucky he's one of my team mates" with Cuala.

"Con is exceptional with the talent that he has," Moran confirms.

"He's had great success with the Dublin football team and what they've achieved is phenomenal.

"You can't begrudge him any of that."

Moran has had sufficient time to digest Dublin's unexpected exit from this year's All-Ireland SHC, but he's none the wiser as to why the team suffered such a lull in performance against Laois at O'Moore Park on July 7.

He's certain, though, that progress was made this year under his old Cuala boss Mattie Kenny despite how the season finished.

"We, as a team, have come on a lot," he asserted.

"We're always building to where we want to get to. It was an up-and-down year. We had some great performances but it's about trying to get it consistent across every match.

"We know when we play as well as we can, we're up there with the best. But it's only valuable if you can do it every time. You have to perform every time you go out.

"You really don't get too many chances to represent your county," noted Moran, who made his Dublin debut under Ger Cunningham.

"You've got to take them and learn from each one of them."

"If we can start performing consistently, like, we know that when we play well and play as a team and compete to our standards that we can compete with anyone.

"It's just a matter of doing that more consistently and yeah, it would be great.

"Dublin hurling is building, it has been over the last few years," Moran adds, "we're just trying to keep that moving forward."

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