GAA Football

Gaelic football only thing that could bring me home admits Cavan star Conor Moynagh

Conor Moynagh was a key player in Cavan's run to last year's Ulster final - the first time in 18 years the Breffni County had appeared in a provincial decider. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Neil Loughran

THE travelling bug has well and truly bitten Conor Moynagh since he left Ireland last September – but the Cavan wing-back insists the only thing that could bring him back home in years to come is the pull of the Breffni blue.

Having navigated his way across north and South America before heading Down Under, Moynagh currently finds himself locked down in New Zealand as the country attempts to get a grip on the coronavirus crisis.

His initial aim was to return to Ireland in the autumn, but the constantly evolving situation regarding Covid-19 has left those plans up in the air. With the option to continue his career at the Sydney office of HubSpot, for whom Moynagh is a marketing consultant, Moynagh could easily choose to remain on the other side of the world for the forseeable future.

However, having opted to take a year away from the inter-county scene, the 27-year-old insists lining out for Mickey Graham’s Breffni outfit would be his main reason for coming back.

“The only thing that would bring me home at all in the next couple of years would be football,” said Moynagh.

“It was hard enough call to go in the first place; it was the last line that was going to be cut. I actually had a chat with Mattie McGleenan before the 2018 season and told him I wasn’t going to join the panel because I was going to go travelling.

“I ended up stayed on, it suited work-wise too, and then when Mickey took over he rang me, had obviously heard I was thinking of travelling. I was on the phone for maybe an hour and a half, it was left that I had a couple of weeks to have a think about it.

“I did that, and in that time the draw was made for the Ulster Championship and we got Monaghan at home, in Breffni Park, in the first round. Me living on the border, it was always going to be difficult to turn away from, as well as turning away from Cavan football in general.

“I texted him and said I would come back if would still have me.”

The Drumgoon man excelled during Graham’s first year in charge, with his performances in the Breffni County’s run to the Ulster final earning him an Allstar nomination.

The pair know each other well, having worked together extensively at underage level, and Moynagh is already looking forward to the day when he is back doing what he does best.

“I worked with Mickey for two years at minor, in my last year we won the minor championship with Dermot McCabe and Gary Donoghue; Mickey had brought me in as an under 16 so went back a long way.

“Even though it was their first year, Mickey, Dermot and Martin Corey had worked with a lot of lads who had come through those minor squads. He got a good system in, got the guys believing in it and got us playing a style of football we all enjoyed.

“He played to the team’s strengths and it was a year of really enjoyable football. Most of the trainings, you were looking forward to them. Every player just wants to go out and kick the football – that’s what you do until you’re probably 14 and told otherwise.

“To be fair to Mickey, Martin and Dermot, their first thought was to have the head up and if the kick’s there, go for it. I’m one who would be a fan of that style – it doesn’t always go where I want it to, but I love to play that way.

“Football feels so incidental at this point in time, but you just hope that down the line it is one of things that helps bring people back together.”

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