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Incredible Story From Former Coach Shows Strength Of Irish Youngster Andrew Moran

Incredible Story From Former Coach Shows Strength Of Irish Youngster Andrew Moran
By Eoin Harrington
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Brighton has become a haven for young Irish talent over the past few years, and Andrew Moran was the latest to get his chance at Premier League level with the club last week.

Moran came on as a sub in Brighton's demolition of Everton in midweek, and said even he was surprised to be trusted with Premier League minutes by manager Roberto de Zerbi.

He follows the likes of Aaron Connolly and Jayson Molumby, who have progressed through the ranks at the Seagulls before moving on to challenges elsewhere, while he is also joined by fellow Irish youngsters Evan Ferguson and Jamie Mullins (recently arrived from Bohemians).

We spoke to former Brighton academy coach Mark Beard this week, and the now-Dorking Wanderers coach stated that Moran was his "favourite player" he had ever coached.

He said that Moran could soar just as high as the potentially "world class" Evan Ferguson, and remembered a story from during the COVID-19 lockdown which exemplifies Moran's immense strength.

"Favourite player I've coached" - Ex-Brighton coach on Andrew Moran

For Andrew Moran and many other youngsters abroad, the COVID-19 pandemic presented unfamiliar and immensely difficult challenges.

Joining Brighton's academy in the summer of 2020 meant living abroad during a period of limited overseas travel, at a time when Moran was just 16 years old.


Mark Beard - former under-18s coach at Brighton - spoke to Balls.ie this week on the young Irish talent at Brighton, and remembered one sad story from that time that exemplifies the strength Andrew Moran has shown on his journey so far.

During a particularly challenging time, with multiple family bereavements, Moran pushed on and continued to play for the Brighton youth teams, even scoring a crucial goal in the U17 Premier League Cup final on the weekend of his grandmother's passing:

The kid is unbelievable. He came over at such a hard time, as well. COVID was here, so he couldn't go home. A lot of the English players could go home to their parents, but he couldn't. He didn't see his mum or his dad - in that time, his granddad died.

What really made it for me was when we played Middlesbrough in the Premier League Cup final. Two days before it happened, I had a phone call from his dad that his nan had died. I had to go and tell him. It was a really tough time and I said, 'if you want to go home, it's close family, obviously go home.'

He said, 'no, I'm gonna play and do it for my nan.' My god, he scored one of the best goals - it was like a Messi goal or a Maradona goal. He picked it up in his own half, turned about five or six players, and put it in the bottom corner. That's just a testament to Andy Moran, he's such a great kid.


It is a deeply sad story, and the experience of being trapped abroad away from family at such a difficult time is hard to comprehend - but the strength shown, at such a young age, is remarkable, and testament to Andrew Moran's character.


Video footage of the goal proves that the description is not hyperbole, with Moran dancing through the Boro defence and finishing with aplomb.

Moran has now progressed further at Brighton and, at 19 years of age, made his Premier League debut in last week's game against Everton.



The brilliance of Evan Ferguson in that game has already been detailed, with Mark Beard also providing us with a deep dive on Moran's Irish teammate this week.

Ferguson has been tipped for big things, with Beard suggesting the ex-Bohs man can become "world class". But, in his eyes, Moran is right up there with him, and Beard says that Moran remains his favourite player he has coached.

He also recounted the story of how Moran arrived at the club, alongside fellow Irish youngster Leigh Kavanagh. He said that the club had had their eye on Kavanagh, and were only recommended a look at Moran at the last second - Beard stuck his neck out for the Dubliner and made sure he was signed on the dotted line:


He's my favourite player. I know I said Evan [Ferguson] - Evan is the biggest one I could see go on and reach superstardom. Andy Moran could be close to that as well. I love him. I think he is my favourite player I have coached, simply because of the kid he is - he's lovely.

He came here by mistake as well! When we signed him, he came over with Leigh Kavanagh. Leigh Kavanagh came over for a trial, but the manager said 'please take a look at this kid, he's only little, but he's worth a go.' So he came over and I watched the game, and a lot of the other coaches were saying 'oh, he might be too small' - but I said 'no, he's got a bit about him'.

I saw him go through someone with a tackle and thought 'yeah, he'd do for me!'

So, just how good can Andrew Moran become?

Beard compared Evan Ferguson to Manchester United legend Duncan Edwards, but he has a more contemporary comparison for Moran, one which will no doubt excite Irish fans:

He's such a great kid. He's always got a smile on his face when you watch him in training. I loved watching him train.

I say it a lot, I think he will be a top talent as well. It's funny that he would come along and then, the following year, Evan comes along! There's two of them!

I think Andy, given time and patience...I've called him the 'Irish Phil Foden'. I think he could be a real top talent as well.

With Evan Ferguson and Andrew Moran both tipped for big things, Brighton is the club to watch for Irish football fans at the minute. We cannot wait to see what these two youngsters achieve in the coming years.

SEE ALSO: Hull City Manager's Comments On Aaron Connolly Are Exactly What He Needs To Hear

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