Barry Moran calls it a day

Photo: RTÉ

News broke yesterday evening on Midwest Radio that Barry Moran has decided to call time on his inter-county career. The 32 year-old Castlebar Mitchels clubman was involved in the senior panel for the last thirteen years, during which time he featured in four All-Ireland finals and won six Connacht senior championship medals.

The story is widely covered today – it’s the leading piece in the sports section of the Mayo News (paper and digital variants) and it also features elsewhere: RTÉ, The 42, Irish Sun, Irish Mirror. There’s an official statement from Mayo GAA as well on Barry’s retirement: that’s here.

Barry first broke into the senior panel back in 2005, at which point he was only a year out of the minor ranks. The previous year he’d played championship football at both minor and U21 levels, scoring a goal in that year’s All-Ireland U21 final on a day when we went under to Armagh by two points.

His first senior appearance was off the bench late on against Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final of 2005 when he came on for Shane Fitzmaurice. He did the same again in the Round 4 qualifier win against Cavan before making his full senior debut in that year’s All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Kerry, where he was called into the starting fifteen at corner forward on the day due to an injury to Trevor Mortimer. He scored a point in that three-point loss to the Kingdom.

Barry hadn’t, though, finished his under-age career at that stage. I can’t find any record of his involvement in the 2005 U21 campaign (was he injured then?) but he was, of course, an integral part of the 2006 All-Ireland winning side of 2006. He partnered Seamus O’Shea in the engine room right throughout that campaign, in a team that featured so many players who were destined to become household names at national level in the years since then.

2006 was also the year where he made his first appearance in a senior All-Ireland final, having earlier that summer picked up his first Connacht championship medal. The action he saw at senior level that year all came off the bench – it was Barry who replaced Ronan McGarrity when the Ballina player was pole-axed by Dublin’s Ciaran Whelan in the semi-final – and in the final he came on as a second half substitute for Kevin O’Neill.

Barry’s career was, though, one blighted by injury. One bad one stands out for me and that occurred in the 2007 All-Ireland U21 semi-final against Laois when he rose majestically to claim a ball at midfield early in the second half but came crashing down on his ankle. His departure from the fray all but ended our hopes in that match and it put Barry out of action for a fair while too. Once he’d recovered later that year, though, he was handed a new role with the seniors, John O’Mahony posting him at full-forward as we sought to rescue our championship campaign via the qualifiers. He did okay there too but that run ended dismally, with defeat to Derry in the second round.

It was in the same advanced role – along with Aidan O’Shea he formed part of a short-live Twin Towers full-forward line – that Barry won his second Connacht championship medal in 2009. Injury, though, intervened once again that summer with the Bird sidelined for our All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Meath due to a broken finger.

Barry was one of a number of players whom James Horan cut from his squad in 2011 – Tom Parsons was another – but in 2012 the Castlebar man returned to the panel and he proceeded to put in his finest year in a Mayo jersey. Barry played in all of our championship games that summer and put in a number of stand-out displays in a run that took us all the way to the All-Ireland final. He was nominated for an All-Star at midfield in 2012 and had we won Sam that year he’d surely have collected an All-Star award as well.

That, though, was the only final Barry started in. He came in off the bench for Seamus O’Shea in 2013 (another injury-hit year for him) and he also featured as a sub in both the drawn and replayed 2016 deciders. He was an unused sub in last year’s final.

It’s not a huge shock that Barry is calling it quits now. Work commitments are, according to that piece in the Mayo News, part of the reason for his decision but so too must be ever-decreasing game time.  He never saw any action at all last year and, even though we lost our first-choice midfield pairing through injury this summer, Barry wasn’t called into the first fifteen to replace either Tom Parsons or Seamus O’Shea.

Barry’s final appearance for the senior team came off the bench earlier this year, against Donegal up in Ballybofey in March where he replaced Tom Parsons late on in that game. His final full appearance came against Kerry earlier in this year’s League campaign. In total Barry played in 70 competitive fixtures for the county at senior level.

Like so many players who battled hard for in the county colours, Barry has been forced to end his days as an inter-county player without a Celtic cross. His was a career interrupted all too regularly by injuries and so, sadly, it was one in which he was unable to display his considerable talents to the full on a consistent basis. He did, though, make a significant contribution to the cause during his time on the senior panel and he deserves thanks and praise from Mayo supporters everywhere for his long service in the Green and Red. Thanks for the memories, Bird.

44 thoughts on “Barry Moran calls it a day

  1. 13 years. Some service to the cause. I’d say he won his first Connacht senior medal in 06 WJ making it a total of 7.

  2. Fair play to Barry . Can’t fault his commitment or love of the jersey . Time is right to go . Thanks Big man for all the effort .

  3. Barry Moran, gave it everything for many years in the Mayo cause. I think his best ever game’s came against Donegal… He played sweeper in front of Michael Murphy in the quarter final of 2015.. Coming out to midfield to claim several of the Donegal kickouts.. I also remember a league match in Castlebar versus Donegal played in glorious sunshine on an Easter Sunday, with close to 20,000 in attendance…. Barry ruled the sky’s over Castlebar in a display something akin to the now legendary Willie Nally display way back in 1981 versus Galway… Goals in the Victorious Connacht Finals of 2009 & 2014.. Both scored against Galway were highlights… And of course an All Ireland U21 winners medal in Ennis in 2006!

  4. I think you’re right, Brendan – thanks for the correction, I’ll alter the post now. Looking back at the results archive I can see he came off the bench in both the London and Leitrim games which, even though he didn’t feature in the final against Galway, may well have been enough to earn him a Connacht medal that year.

  5. Back to Barry… And the management.. When Barry didn’t make the 26 for the Newbridge or Nowhere Match? … With both SOS and Tom Parsons unavailable due to injury… It’s hard to justify the point being on the panel at all…When a player over 30 years old doesn’t make the game day panel, with two first choice midfielders out… The question has to be asked, why has management included any player not capable of making the extended panel at all in such circumstances?.. Is it to play with the B team, versus the A team, regardless of changing circumstances ?.. Mind you, young guns like Mathew Ruane didn’t move up in the ranking either!…

  6. I wrote on a post yesterday that it was indeed 7 Connacht titles.. But I think 6 might be correct… If James Horan dropped Barry from the panel in 2011.. That leaves the, four in a row for 12,13,14 &15 for Barry, in addition to 2006 & 2009!

  7. “It was Barry who replaced Ronan Mcgarrity when the Ballina player was pole-axed by Dublins’s Ciaran Whelan in the semi final”. Nicely worded there W.J.

    That would be the same day that Mayo went to the Hill 16 end of “neutral” Crow Park to warm up and Whelan marched straight towards them at the head of a blue Roman army to get them out of there. We all know how that ended.

  8. Well done Barry. Very big loss for the Mitchels if he is missing for the championship. The best match I can recall him playing was when Castlebar beat Corofin in Tuam in the Connaught Final a few years back, he was un-markable that day. Enjoy the time off.

  9. Indeed we do, Jim. In fairness to Ciaran Whelan, though (disclaimer here – I’ve met the same man a number of times and a sound individual he is too), I was at the Charlestown club fundraiser up here last year where he spoke about the incident and cheerfully admitted he was completely out of line that day. He said he could easily have got a red card for the hit on Ronan.

    Thanks, Leantimes – I think we’re back to six! 2011 is the year causing confusion and, as you say (and as I mentioned in the post) Barry wasn’t on the panel then.

  10. Big Barry was always a favourite and it’s hard now to see him go. So many spectacular catches from out of the clouds there was truly no better sight. The photo you posted WJ, is I think, against Dublin when Barry rose above Denis Bastic to pull down a high one and all Bastic could do was trip the Big Bird as he came out with the ball. Bastic got his marching orders.
    Thanks for all the memories Barry and best of luck on your travels.

  11. Best wishes to big Barry on retirement.
    I do agree with Leantimes on why he was on the panel and not used. And there are more examples like Barry in the panel and this is where there are serious question marks over the management. As I stated before too many of the squad from 16 down are just sitting there for years now, neither making a real impact or been moved off to allow new talent in. New player development is a huge black mark against Rochford and if not addressed soon will see mayo slip further as more players retire.

  12. Well done Big Bird,13 year’s is serious commitment and the majority of it playing at the top level.Enjoy the rest of your club career and thank’s to the memories and

  13. Enjoy the retirement Barry. You have given great service to Mayo and no doubt, will continue to do so for Mitchel’s.

    Memories? Quite a lot, particularly a spectacular performance against Donegal in a final round of the league a few years ago. That time Donegal ‘won’ the draw and went on to the semis. Barry was on fire that day and scored 3 great points if I remember.

  14. A fine player who put it to the best of them in his prime. Best of luck in the future Barry

  15. There are a number of squad players – Nally, Crowe, Conor O Shea, Kirby, Drake, Regan – who should be given at least three full games in the league next year. Based on that then they are either good enough to play championship or not. If not, they should be let go. Not fair on them to be training with no chance of serious game time. Best of luck to Barry – I hope a few more of the warriors also retire on their own terms.

  16. A great loyal servant to foireann Mhuigheo for 13 years. No doubt you will be missed by your colleagues and fans. You have given a huge commitment to foireann Mhuigheo for sure. Mile buiochas Barry agus go neiri leath i gconai. Mhuigheo abu!

  17. WJ. Just looking at archive of 2006 team v Dubs. Maybe I’m in error here but I’m certain David Brady cane on and flattened Whelan after the Mcgarrity incident. Looking at the team that day on archive I don’t see Brady’s name listed. Now I’m suffering from jet lag and all that so apologised if I’m wrong.

  18. Well done to Barry for all the great service to Mayo.
    I’m not second guessing management on who should be playing each year as it’s a hard call who does. The reality is that since the emergence of David Moran in 2014 the template for being a top midfielder has changed. Brian Fenton is a younger version of the same mould. Cluxton has also changed the template with short kickouts becoming more the norm than the exception.
    Fringe players will always get a raw deal and most hope their patience just pays off over time & grab the jersey when the opportunity arises. In Kerry their young guns grabbed jerseys but bar Clifford they were found wanting vs Galway.

  19. Best of luck on your new travels, Barry. The writing was on the wall a while now though, not named or played much. Thank you for all the effort you put in and for sticking with it for as long as you did.

  20. Thanks for that, John – I had to go back to the original match reports to check that. You’re correct, of course, that David Brady came on that day and gave a rather memorable performance after doing so. He was third sub in, coming on for Billy Joe shortly after the restart. I’ve corrected the results archive entry accordingly.

    PS: By the way, you’re still getting snared in moderation. The fix I mentioned before to you should work – you need to post a comment with a different email address and, after the first comment you post when doing so (just send a test one), you should then be sorted.

  21. A fond memory of Barry Moran is from the 2012 all Ireland semi final V Dublin. 18-16 ahead with 2 mins remaining. He catches a huge ball in midfield which set up Seamus for the next score….. class lad!

  22. East Mayo A minor final fixed for 8:15pm on Friday in COE Bekan. Only up the road from you WJ.

  23. thanks Barry and all the best, you have played a big part in this quest and will be for fondly remembered. Hon mayo!

  24. Thanks to Barry and all the other lads who have fought the cause and have moved on to new challenges.

  25. David Brady came on for Ronan and made sure he had a sore jaw the following morning !! also made sure Mr Whelan didn’t get his all-star that year have the picture framed in my kitchen 🙂 🙂 🙂

  26. Well done, Barry, you are entitled to an honourable discharge, safe in the knowledge that you gave loyal and dedicated service to the green and red. It’s funny, but I can still recall Barry’s demeanour after the heartbreaking loss to Donegal in final. He was so dignified is watching the cup being presented. Anyway, say hi to Mr. Hooper and the “Count” on Sesame Street…

  27. Barry has been a great servant whose worth was I feel never fully appreciated Best of luck in the future and thanks for your great efforts.

  28. My favourite memory of Barry was in a match against Sligo. Eamon O Hara went on as a sub and immediately set about ‘sorting out’ one or two of our lads including Barry. Both Barry and Eamon ended up stuck in each other on the ground but when they surfaced Mr. O Hara’s face was covered in blood – his own and he had to go off poor lad! I couldn’t say definitively what transpired on the ground but I reckon he must have accidentally punched himself in the face. (He was never renowned for his accuracy.) It couldn’t possibly have been Barry- could it? Much too nice for that sort of thing!

  29. Die-hard- I remember that one also with o’ Hara. It was in the Hyde. O’ Hara had pushed his weight around the year before and got away with it. Thought he would come on and do the same thing. Was delighted to see him gong off again with blood on his face – Barry was going to take no shit.

  30. Well done Barry. Great servant in a career blighted by injury. Like a previous poster I too recall him making a crucial catch v dubs in 2012. We were under incredible pressure as the dubs reeled us in There were I think 5 or 6 minutes of injury time and the dubs were all over us. Then Barry made one of his trademark catches and we scored. Was one of the most enjoyable but tension filled match I witnessed and really announced the arrival of our great team. Thanks for the memories.

  31. Thanks for the memories Barry Moran. For me it’s the catch against Dublin with Denis Bastick getting the line for a trip. Plenty of stuff over the years but that one stands out given the pressure.

  32. Best wishes to Barry and a big thanks for lining out for the green and red over the years. It must be tough hanging up the County boots but I hope that your proud at how well you represented Mayo. A happy retirement to you from the County game.

  33. Thanks for all the years of selfless service to the green and red journey big man. Probably the greatest sacrifice given by players is from those who make themselves available time and time again in the hope that they can show their true talent and worth at a time that would be of the greatest benfit and reward not for themselves but for their team mates, their family and their County. The next Generation have a lot to live up to. You have set the stabdard, done yourself proud and will be fondly remembered Big Bird

  34. Should be a testimonial for the likes of Barry and others who have given so much of there time to intercounty football.

  35. Hard to believe Barry was around since the quarter final match v Kerry in 2005, that was a great Mayo performance, and John Maughans final game as boss.
    Barry made a good contribution when he came on very late at full forward in the 2016 replayed final, he was badly missed in the 2015 replayed semi v the Dubs.
    I will always remember him for sorting out O Hara when the match was in the balance v Sligo a few years ago.
    Thanks for giving us enjoyment.

  36. Hi All,
    I just wanted to congratulate Barry on a super career and wish him all the best. I sometimes forget how much my own County men and all footballers sacrifice for their County so for this man to be at the top of the game for so long says it all.

    Kind Regards
    Martin the Dub

  37. Was always a big fan and wish him all the best in retirement. Probably one of the best club players in recent years in County.
    As other posters have alluded to a man I don’t think was appreciated for the footballer he was in county circles and not making the kildare panel really was baffling! Put in some great displays in the middle and sweeping vs 2 of the best in country Murphy and Quinlivan. The late catch is getting some mentions vs bastic…you can’t help but wonder if he was brought on last year for 15 to catch a few would there have been a different outcome…well never know

  38. A wholehearted thanks Barry on the time, effort and services put in to our county colors and our enjoyment over the years. Best of luck in your future endeavors

  39. Fair play to Barry Moran. Gave it everything and never let Mayo down when he got his chances. Just a pity that injury curtailed so many of those chances. But it was clear this year that his prospects of getting back in the team had all but disappeared.

    He owes the jersey nothing though. Enjoy your retirement Barry, and best of luck with Mitchels in the future.

  40. Thanks for all the effort and the memories, Barry. I could never understand why he did not get more game time, esp. at full forward where he could have been a huge ball winner for us. Remember his dsplay against Dublin in Castlebar in the replay of the league game abandoned due to fog. Can’t recall the year but it was back to the old system the following outing with Barry back on the bench. Good luck with Castlebar and the future.

  41. Best of luck on your retirement Barry. By all accounts one of the most popular lads around. Enjoy the rest and relaxation. You put in a serious shift for the county. Thanks for all the memories and all the high fielding too! You (and the ball) came down with snow on at times!

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