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29th May 2023

Kevin Moran, one of Ireland’s greatest ever sporting stories ever, to be told in RTÉ documentary tonight

Niall McIntyre

Kevin Moran

Moran’s incredible story will be re-told in the new documentary – Codebreaker – on RTÉ tonight.

Kevin Moran had a sporting career the likes of which will never be seen again. To win two All-Irelands with the Dubs, to also win two FA Cups with Manchester United. Where would you get it?

To play in La Liga, to have won an All-Star and a National Football League, to play in a European Championships and a World Cup.

Imagine Brian Fenton had a side hustle in the Premier League and, on top of that, was one of Stephen Kenny’s best players. It’s not going to happen. It will never happen again.

Moran was the codebreaker. To do so, he had to break some of the rules and, in a different time where there were fewer eyes and fewer phones and less social media, he could get away with it. But only just.

Even in those simpler times, he was only just getting away with it. Of all the mad things about his unparalleled story, one of the maddest of all is that, having signed for Manchester United in 1978, he still played in that year’s Leinster championship for Dublin – without telling his club.

By the time they reached that year’s All-Ireland final, between them, Dublin manager Kevin Heffernan and his captain Tony Hanahoe figured they had to.

“I said to Sexton that it was just a friendly, no big deal’,” recalls Hanahoe. He (Sexton) goes ‘How many will be there?’ ‘Around 80,000’,” he recalls with a laugh.

Moran’s incredible story will be re-told in the new documentary – Codebreaker – on RTÉ tonight.

His Manchester United team-mates Bryan Robson and Norman Whiteside feature in the documentary but the best line of all is told by Mancunian and Stone Roses bass player Mani: “Kevin Moran was a guy who would throw himself in front of a grenade for United,” he says.

“Once he pulled that red jersey on and went over the white line, he’d lay his life down.”

The same went for the blue of Dublin.

“Gaelic football was very comfortable to me,” Moran explains. “If I had the ball in my hands, no one was going to get it from me. I was never out of control, I was always in control.”

The documentary will be broadcast on RTÉ One on Monday, May 29 at 9.35 pm. You won’t want to miss it.

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