Rolling back the years, with the Deel Rovers

Throughout the late nineties and through to the middle of the last decade, Michael Moyles was one of the most recognisable players in the club game in the county and with Mayo on more than a few occasions. But injury put paid to his footballing career long before time. Six years have passed since then and Moyles has been all over the province managing a number of sides, but this year the lure of his home club was to much to resist when they came calling. “I was in Leitrim managing Annaduff for the past two years, the first year we got to a league final and were beaten and had a good run in the championship and were unlucky to be knocked out,” he said. “The next year we won a league final and lost a championship semi-final that we probably should have won. We were making progress and it is hard to leave somewhere when you see progress being made. But I got calls from the likes of Stephen Rochford and Ciaran McDonald and other senior lads and I spoke to some of the younger lads, when this came up. It was always something that I wanted to do and it might have come around quicker than I would have expected, but I’m delighted to be managing my own club.”

When times were good and the economy was flying, Crossmolina Deel Rovers were the kings of the game in Mayo, fielding three sides in competition and having numbers to spare for all three, but no more than any other club times have changed for them, as Moyles explained. “About seven or eight years ago we would be having 80 to 90 lads out training spread across three teams, now it’s more 30 to 40 over two. I know a lot of people will say that’s great, but when you’ve the two teams going and lads pick up injuries or aren’t available it can get thin if there are two games to be played at weekend. Out of that you’d have at least eight or nine guys who would be togging out for both.”

Moyles got into the coaching and management game a lot earlier than most would have because of his injury, when asked did he see it as a replacement for playing he said: “I suppose yeah, I was with Crossmolina and Mayo in 2006 when I got news of the injury, which I could have played on with but there was always the chance that something could go and that would do it for me [a bone on his back was pressing against his spine]. So Tommy Jordan was over us at the time and he asked me to come along and get involved with the training, which was something to get me back involved. It was something that I was always involved in, with school of excellence and then in the college with freshers’ teams. It’s something that I just replaced playing with I guess and I’ve gone on from there. Even though you would take up a lot more time on the management side of things.”

With the league season finally starting for the top two divisions this weekend, Moyles is looking for his side to reach their potential this year and with it hopefully bring them back to the top of the game in Mayo. “If we were lucky we can reach our own expectations of our levels this year. We’ve had meetings and discussed our goals and we know where we want to be this year. The lads know what the want to achieve and things for whatever reason the last couple of years haven’t worked out, but it’s up to us to hit our own targets this year.”

Things get under way for Moyles and his Deel Rovers on Saturday evening with a trip to a near rival from the recent past. “We’ve tricky opening against Charlestown, it’s not going to be easy, and as for the championship. We’re lucky to have two home game against Ballinrobe and Kiltane which is a bonus and with Castlebar away. It’s a different team now we have from two years ago and it’ll be a different one again in a few years time, it’s all about getting the minors and younger lads coming through the team.”


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