Putting the 'Lessons Learned' on to the page

GAA

Anyone who has ever spent any time with Andy Moran knows the man can talk and will talk. He's always engaging and entertaining and this week his new book Andy - Lessons learned in the pursuit of glory was launched.

But this is not your usual sporting autobiography, it's something a bit different. We caught up with Andy ahead of the launch to talk about the book and his process for writing it.

On the topic of where he came up with the idea to do the book and how he approached it, he told the Advertiser: "The book started off as a lot of things did over lockdown number one, where myself, Jenny and the two kids were in the house and if I didn't start doing something, we would have probably killed each other, it was one of those situations. We were home schooling, our little fella was only two and a half and it was a tough time, as it was for everyone in the country, who couldn't work.

"I literally started typing out things for myself to give coaching on, such as, what did I learn from Boyler (Colm Boyle ), what did I learn from Caolan Crowe, Clarkie (David Clarke ) all the lads that are featured in the book and many more; there were many, more you could have written about, but they all had similar stories.

"What I did learn about, was the resilience of Tom Parsons, the skill level of Cillian O'Connor, how he got there, the ability of Lee Keegan and how he got there - not throwing the toys out of the pram like David Clarke did so many times, when he had the opportunity to say 'Why always me?'; but he didn't and just stuck at it. I think there are huge lessons in it.

"Sometimes in sport you see winners and losers and don't see what goes on behind it and yes, many people can look and say, listen they didn't win the All Ireland - which we didn't - and we don't hide away from it in the book. We didn't achieve the goal we set out to achieve, but, was there great times, was there lessons learned, was there great times spent with our supporters our support team, our families or partners and the people that guided us through from under-age? And there was and that's where the title came from.

"I think the fact it didn't start out as a book, I remember, I was approached by some publishers before the end of the 2019 season and I think it was fairly obvious that was going to be my last season - I was 35 coming into my 36th year and Liam Hayes came down to me, David Brennan from Castlebar came down to me, and they all said to me, would you write a book; and I always thought, my story, was that I would never write a book because - my traditional feeling on a book was, you've to tell all, you've to tell secrets in the dressing room and tell a story about yourself.

"I'd look at myself and I don't see myself as that interesting as a person, if I'm honest. I see myself the same as many people in the west of Ireland, who had a good upbringing, loved football, have a wife, two kids, have a house and am working like every other person. I don't see that as that interesting of a story, I wouldn't be too keen on telling personal tales about my Dad, my Mum, my personal set-up. That is the way I viewed a book.

"When Liam Hayes came down to me, he said something, he said: 'If you ever do this Andy, don't look at it as it's a book, or it's for this, this or this; it should be used to say thank you to people'. So when I started writing, I started writing about what could I bring into my coaching that Colm Boyle taught me and the the stories just started popping out of that. When I gave Colin Sheridan about 55,000 words, all little different subsections, he made a vignette out of them and pulled them all together and we enjoyed it when we were doing it. There were some days when we were on the brink of falling out and things like that, but we enjoyed the the work."

Choosing Colin

Working on the book with Colin Sheridan, Andy found the overall process of working with him an enjoyable experience: "It's funny, I probably spoke to Colin in the past but didn't know it. You get to know the Press guys through the years and we meet up, and all of a sudden, after about year five, year six, we kinda know each other at that stage.

"You know the cycle it goes; first I'm looking at ye with suspicions and ye are reporting on stuff, ye might be critical and both good and bad at times.

"Colin, I didn't know him, but I could have talked to him; but when I rang him, he got the concept straight away. I think he had the idea in the the back of his head; he was going to ring me about doing something anyway - and we literally just got each other.

"I'd have had a really good relationship with Maurice (Sheridan - Colin's brother and former Mayo footballer and current Mayo u20 manager ); always had, we always seemed to get each other.

"He was there when I went in in 2003 and struck off a friendship along the way, helped me with my kicking in 2010 and 2011, always there if I needed a bit of coaching with my kicking.

"There was always that link with Maurice, but not Colin - but he got me straight away. He knew I didn't want to go in and have one of those tell-alls; he knew it wasn't going to be a relating of yarns and stories from the the dressing rooms. He knew that and he got that and we hit it off straight away."

Andy - Lessons Learned in the pursuit of glory is out now and available from www.mayobooks.ie You can hear our full conversation with Andy on episode 24 of the Advertiser GAA Podcast which is available on all the major podcast platforms and at www.advertiser.ie

 

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