Finnian calls time on County career

Finnian Moriarty.
Finnian Moriarty.

Armagh defender Finnian Moriarty has called time on his County career having been on the squad for over a decade, the Wolfe Tones clubman was a member of the Armagh Under 21 team which won the All Ireland title back in 2004.

The Derrymacash man played in a number of defensive roles for Armagh during a period when the County had an abundance of players who possessed an amount of versatility.

Moriarty played on the successful Armagh Under 21 side which contained both Steven and Aaron Kernan, the team which was captained by Kieran McKeever had many stars like Ryan Henderson, Ronan Austin, Brian Mallon, goalkeeper Paul Wilson, Peadar Toal, Peter Stevenson, and Barry McDonald.

Finnian made his senior Inter County debut in 2006, and went on to win two Ulster titles with his County.

He recalls many high points during his Armagh days including battles with many opponents.

“All the forwards at County level are difficult to mark,” said Finnian. “I played against Dublin’s Jason Sherlock in Crossmaglen in a league game and his speed caused me a lot of problems. Galway’s Pauric Joyce had a lot of craft and could score off both feet.

“Even at County training you were teamed against players like Jamie Clarke or Brian Mallon who were very deceptive.”

With the Armagh defender now fully focused on club football, his Wolfe Tones team mates can look forward to seeing a lot more of the former St. Pat’s Armagh schoolboy star.

Finnian said he always admired “the talents and professionalism” of his former Armagh team mate Paul McGrane who he holds in high regard and one of his youth coaches at the Tones and Patsy Magee who he says had “a big influence on shaping his career.”

Although Finnian had many highlights in an orange jersey he believes the County side could have been more successful.

“Two low points in particular stand out, being beaten by Wexford in 2008 was very disappointing, and also the heavy defeat against Monaghan in 2010 was particularly hard to take considering we had shown promise in the previous round beating Derry in Celtic Park.”

Finnian was always an instantly recognisable name on any Armagh team sheet, his father Paddy burst onto the scene winning his first All Star award when just 19, and collected his second when being moved from a forward position to centre half back during Armagh’s journey to the All Ireland final in 1977.

Paddy who has been described as “one of the top players of his generation” by many top pundits had an outstanding game in the 1977 final when in direct opposition to Dublin skipper Tony Hanahoe, ironically Paddy Mo, as he was known converted a penalty into the Canal goals during that particular final at the same end where his Wolfe Tones club man had taken a penalty in All Ireland final 24 years previous.

Finnian, who is a teacher, had a honest approach to both training and competitive matches and will be a prize asset for his club side who have steadied themselves in the top flight.