Mayo's All-Ireland success at Under-21 level at the weekend created a small piece of GAA history: Shairoze Akram became the first Pakistan-born man to win an All-Ireland medal. Akram spoke to the Irish Examiner in the aftermath of the victory, and has said that his presence owed more to the influence of Andy Moran than anything else.
Akram and Moran are clubmates in Ballaghaderreen, and it was the influence of the latter that led Akram to turn his back on potential careers in football and basketball to focus on GAA at the age of eleven:
It wasn’t me, I was persuaded to play the game. Andy Moran, I put it all down to him. I was sort of made go by him and it has taken off from there. I picked the game up when I was in sixth class about eight or nine years ago and I’ve been playing ever since.
He’d be one of the players I look up to in the club. He is a great mentor. He’s the one who got me involved in football and he has helped me ever since.
Moran's influence upon Mayo continues to grow.