Former Galway star grateful to get second chanceJune 15, 2012 - 7:00am
MOST sports people who have retired from the game – be it at whatever level – harbour some regrets. Former Galway star and TG4 hurling analyst Cathal Moore is no different although these days the regrets have become fewer and fewer.
Indeed, the Turloughmore native’s view on not only sport but on life has changed drastically over the past two years – ever since he had to undergo emergency brain surgery in Beaumont Hospital in the Summer of 2010 and spent the best part of the next year putting the pieces of his life back together again.
Sitting in his office at Presentation College Athenry secondary school, where he is one of two deputy principals, Moore says the regrets he previously jousted with on a regular basis no longer command his interest in the same way as they once did.
“One thing I have learned from my illness is that you think things are important in life but sure there is nothing as important as your health. That is the most important thing and you only learn that through illness,” states the affable 36-year-old, who, in addition to temporarily losing his eyesight and balance after the operation, had to re-learn how to read and write, among other things.
“Of course, there are things that if you were back there again you would do differently but that is experience and no matter what you say you come to learn as you get older that you can’t put an experienced head on young shoulders. You just can’t do it.”
Still, he does miss the camaraderie of the Turloughmore dressing-room. “I have been cleared to go back playing hurling but when I look back now it is probably a younger person’s game and there are plenty of guys there. Also, it might not be the greatest idea in the world to risk getting a belt in the head,” he laughs.
“In any event, I appreciate what I have had. I enjoyed the years that I played and made great friends and it was a privilege to be involved with the Turloughmore team. Even though we didn’t win anything, there was great camaraderie and the one thing you would miss is the dressing-room.
“It was great craic and ex-players will always say that. There is great fun in the dressing-room and you don’t realise it as much when you are going through it. You just take it for what it is. It was the same with Galway. It was a great privilege to wear the jersey.”
From his time with the county, Moore has an extensive collection of underage medals – U-14, U-16, minor and U-21 – along with a couple of National League, Railway Cup and Oireachtas medals. “I nearly have the full set but I would still give them all back for a senior medal. Any player would, but being from Galway – 25 years on from our last win – I am not unique in that.”
In many respects, his younger brother and Galway captain Fergal now carries the hopes of the county and with a Leinster semi-final clash between the Tribesmen and Offaly looming on the horizon this weekend, it would be remiss not to get his views on the game.
“Offaly always seem to be able to raise their game for Galway, no doubt about it, and you only have to go back to those epic matches we had against them a couple of years ago to see that. Sure look it, no more than the Galway guys, they are trying to impress new management as well in Ollie Baker.
“What I would say is that both teams will approach this match thinking they have nothing to lose . . . that there is a Leinster final waiting there for them. You could say it is the easier side of the draw having avoided Kilkenny and Dublin and it probably is. I don’t think Galway or Offaly would want to be playing either of them at this stage.”
He believes the current Galway management appear to be heading in the right direction with their selection of players and believes manager Anthony Cunningham and company have got the balance right in terms of the mix and blend of the squad.
“People say it is a brand new squad but yet you go back to the Waterford game last year and you start counting up and you will soon come to nine or 10 lads who were there last year. While that is new, it is not radical. So, I think they have a good mix. There are always arguments regarding players who should or should not be in there, but it seems to me looking in from the outside that it is a very open ended panel.”
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.