Farewell to one of the boys of summer

 Andy Moran of Mayo with his daughter Charlotte after the 2016 final.

Andy Moran of Mayo with his daughter Charlotte after the 2016 final.

When I think of John Malkovich, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Liam Neeson, John Travolta, Robert Downey Jnr, Sigourney Weaver, Harrison Ford, and many more, I scan the list and think of them in wonderful roles.

The countless characters they have played, the images they have created in our heads and in our eyes, the emotions they have stirred. I think of the many biting points, those moments of pretence where they convince us, the audience, that they are who they play; that moment when we stretch our belief to accept this unquestionably.

When the day arrives that they hang up their script, when they shun the make-up room for the hills, there is little danger of any of them being honoured with the statement "isn't it a pity that not one of them ever won an Oscar..." There will not be an asterisk beside their names saying that what they have done is not regarded as success; that they all fell one step short of what they set out to achieve.

Because success is defined in many ways. Not in the reaching of a summit, but in the constant climb, the durability to withstand working at great heights, while accepting the humility of humanity.

I thought of this this week when the news broke...a night after the bottom line on a WhatsApp notification said...

…”Andy Moran has left the group…”

It's a small line, written in a smaller font, because in WhatsApp nothing is ever allowed to supercede the message, but no message could carry the weight of this small notification. It represented a sort of finality, a parting of the ways, an acknowledgement that this group, more than just a WhatsApp group, would never be similarly comprised again; that the circumstances would never be the same again; like a holiday romance, that no matter how you try can never be replicated, because some element or other would be missing.

Like a drama group after their final performance, every role consigned to time, because the next year brings a new production, a new role, a new script, and new lines.

For more than a decade, this Mayo team have been delivering new lines. They have been handed varying scripts; soaring rights of passage dramas that opt for the scenic route rather than the simple predictable rom-com. And every year, Andy Moran and his teammates have brought us unprecedented suspense that had us rolling and trembling in our seats.

One hopes that Andy Moran and his colleagues know just what a big part of our lives they have played. How they have been the signifiers of the status of our moods. How, when we see them on their knees after another heartbreak, all we want to do, is dust ourselves down, curse what has happened, until we pass Kinnegad, and then start the immediate process of lifting them and ourselves back up again. When once the sound of Micheal O'Hehir was the sound of summer, now the name "Andy Moran" means summer's days to us, of hope, of new camaraderie, and new journeys.

They inspire us to believe in things because they believed in the power of the group; the benefit of synergy. They have given us all pride in our colours, our county. They have made us love again the soil that shaped us. For taking the time to sign the jersey and the programmes of the youngest fans, they have helped create memories that will live long.

Andy, for the contentment you have given so many, I hope you have kept a share for you and those close to you. Your name is forever etched in the history of Mayo. You deserve to be feted as a legend for the rest of your days. Thanks for everything…and the best of luck with what you decide to do….and sure, you'd never know, we might see ya again, inspiring us in some other way. Enjoy the break...go raibh mile maith agat.

Aindí, as ucht na sástachta a thug tú do na sluaite, tá súil agam gur choinnigh tú cuid den tsástacht sin duit féin agus dóibh siúd is mó a bhfuil cion agat orthu. Beidh tú luaite go brách le stair na Muigheo. Go gcaitear leat mar laoch an chuid eile de do shaol. Táimid buíoch díot as gach a ndearna tú dúinn...agus go n-éirí go geal leat amach anseo, cibé rud a thograíonn tú a dhéanamh... agus ar ndóigh, cá bhfios nach gcasfaí orainn arís thú, agus tú dár spreagadh ar bhealach éigin eile.

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