Seamus O'Shea backs brother Aidan to produce the goods in the decider
By Stuart Tynan
Mayo captain Aidan O'Shea will put his personal disappointment in the semi-final against Dublin behind him and respond with a big performance, according to his older brother Séamus.
It was a bad day at the office for Aidan last time out and he was substituted before the midway stage of the second half following a below par performance.
Despite going off, Mayo kicked on and took out the Dubs in extra-time for an incredible win.
"From Aidan's point of view, he got taken off, he didn't have a great game," said AIB ambassador Séamus. "That happens to everybody. You just have to accept that and move on."
He added: "Aidan will be fine. I don't think it's happened to him before where he just hasn't had a good game and got taken off. You just have to take it on the chin."
Seamus believes that Aidan will have some extra motivation to put things right come Saturday, and cited his own experience in the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary when he was called shore in the second half following a subdued display.
"Like any player, you just want to get back to playing well. It happened me back in '16 where I had a poor second half and the whole country was probably thinking I was going to be dropped for the final but in fairness to Rochy (Stephen Rochford), he stuck with me.
"In a weird way, it's not a nice thing to happen, but it kind of focuses the mind a little bit and gives you a bit of motivation for the next day out.
"He'll be grand. I'm not worried about him. He'll need to have a big performance the next day and Mayo will need him to have a big performance as well."
There may not be a more talked about GAA player in the country, never mind Mayo, than Aidan O'Shea, whose performances are perhaps more scrutinised than any other. Seamus, for his part, doesn't get the obsession.
"It’s probably a source of frustration for me to be honest because I feel like regardless of what happens in a game, Aidan seems to be the headline for some reason.
"I don’t know if it gets more clicks or does it generate more headlines or something like that but I can’t think of any other footballer where the conversation after every game is, 'Where did Aidan play? How did he play? What will they do with him the next day?’
"There’s obviously loads of brilliant footballers around the country that will have good days and bad days or that will play in different positions, and it’s just not the same source of conversation anywhere else.
"I struggle to understand why there is this obsession with how he plays and where he plays every day we go out.
"He’s an important player for Mayo obviously, he has been a brilliant player for us over the years. He’ll be asked to do different things, whether it’s full-forward, centre-forward, midfield or in years gone by he’s gone to the backline.
"But I struggle to understand the obsession with his performance every single day."
When asked could it down to his physical presence, Seamus said: "Maybe. But like, Michael Murphy does something similar for Donegal, he kind of floats between different positions and stuff. But I’ve never heard the conversation: ‘Jaysus, where will Donegal play Michael Murphy the next day?’ If he plays at centre-forward, it’s not a problem, if he plays at full-forward, if he plays at midfield, it never seems to be a question over whether he’s doing the right thing or the wrong thing or whatever it is.
"Maybe there’s something in that (about Aidan’s size), I don’t know, it just seems to be a constant thing for some reason. Look, if we win the next day, maybe that kind of conversation will stop and people will forget about it for a while."
Another of his siblings, Conor, featured in the win over Dublin, as well as being involved in winning the 45' that Breaffy team-mate Robbie Hennelly converted to take the semi-final into extra-time.
"I was delighted for him. He's had a tough couple of seasons. Conor's been there since 2012, I think, so he's been there a long time.
"In certain seasons he's been a really important player for us. In '16 he was a really important player for us. He was one of the first subs in. He was out of favour a little bit since.
"He's put in a huge shift over the last few years to get back involved and yeah, as his brother, just thrilled for him to contribute like he did. Hopefully we'll see him again in another couple of days with another good performance."
The eldest of the O'Shea brothers was one of half a dozen Mayo stalwarts to hang up his boots in January following a glittering career with his county that yielded much success, including five Connaught SFC titles. He has no regrets about the decision to retire, with a number of injuries taking their toll as well as a busy work and family life.
"I've made peace with that at this stage," he said. "If I could still play I'd be there but, unfortunately, with injuries over the last number of years I'd have absolutely no business being out there at the moment.
"I've had a lot of struggles over the last couple of years which I'm still trying to manage. Even playing club football now at this stage would be a bit of a struggle. That probably makes it easier in a way because if I walked away last year just because it was time to finish up but I could still play a little bit, then part of you might be thinking you've missed out or you'd love to be still involved.
"But for me it's much easier because I just physically couldn't do it anymore so it's easy enough to just park it and sit back and enjoy it and support them."