Clutching a silver plaque to remember being named man of the match in an All Ireland final, Aidan O’Shea was ushered through the concrete jungle under the Cusack Stand to answer the questions of the fourth estate. Standing tall, the Breaffy teenager who had just put in a masterful performance on Jones Road wasn’t getting carried away with personal acclaim and knew that a job still had to be done next week.
“We thought we had it won alright, it was a great kick by Aidan (Walsh ), but we probably gave the ball away too easy twice near the end. But Tyrone being Tyrone the came back strongly at us and they took their chances at the end.”
Despite dispatching a very fancied Kerry side with a great performance in the semi-final replay, Mayo went into last weekend’s showdown as underdogs once again and that suited their build-up according to O’Shea. “All the talk has been about Tyrone and how they put up a massive score against Meath, but we didn’t read too much into it. We were very confident in our camp and we came up concentrating on our own game and we knew we had the ability to win this game. We were a bit unlucky today and we have to improve and hopefully we’ll win the next day.”
Second half resurgence
Mayo started the game as they finished in Limerick and tore into Kerry, going into a four-point lead with ten minutes to go in the half, but Tyrone closed the gap and went in a point to the good. Half time came at just the right time for Mayo, which O’Shea admitted. “We had a bit of a lapse in concentration before half time, but we knew that ourselves, we let them get a run on us for ten minutes before the end. We started very well but sure we knew coming out that we had a real chance of winning this All Ireland and we had it up to the last few minutes. There’s more from us. We kicked a few wides again today and it was disappointing by our standards and we thought we had corrected that against Kerry down in Limerick, hopefully we can put them over the bar.”
O’Shea was a doubt going into the game, after breaking a bone in the semi-final win over Kerry, and only had the cast removed from his hand a few days before the final. It showed no ill effects on the field, but it might curtail his school work. “Ya,h I got a jab before the game and it held up fine, hopefully it will be OK for the next week again.” As for school, “I might have to miss another week, the thumb’s not good enough for writing just yet.”