Criticism of O'Shea beyond what is acceptable

GAA: Comment

Aidan O'Shea's only responsibility is to help Mayo win. Photo: Sportsfile

Aidan O'Shea's only responsibility is to help Mayo win. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo qualified for a round three qualifier clash with Kildare after coming from six points down at half time against a very well organised and fired up Fermanagh in Castlebar. It was a nervy affair which had us on the edge of our seats throughout. The game had incidents aplenty, none more so than the awarding of a controversial penalty to Mayo when the game was in the melting pot, near the end of the game. The coverage this incident has received in the media is similar to the coverage given to the passing of David Bowie or Prince, it went viral and was scrutinised in every forum, totally uncalled for in my opinion.

A visit from a supporter who claims he had an eagle eyed view of the incident suggested Aidan O'Shea was dragged before he fell over, however after several viewings I struggled to see the alleged pull back unless it happened off camera. Che Cullen the Fermanagh full back had his hands on O'Shea all right as is the norm, however referee Joe McQuillan was not even looking in O'Shea's direction at the time of this alleged pull as his eyes were firmly fixed on Kevin McLoughlin who passed in the ball. Did Aidan O'Shea dive? Maybe he did, we all did in our day. Maybe there was a slight tangle of legs which caused him to go to ground. It did not look good on camera but the slightest contact can knock you over in such circumstances. Aidan O'Shea has been vilified for his actions and received plenty of abuse on social media and in the national media in general, which is totally uncalled for. Aidan O'Shea did not blow the whistle. Joe McQuillan did not have a good game. He gave plenty of soft frees and did not give others that were stonewall certainties. With all the attention the O'Shea incident got there was npt much mention of Cillian O'Connor being hauled to the ground a few minutes earlier inside the square by a tackle of which Rob Kearney would be proud. Things evened themselves out and Fermanagh should have no complaints, they were never going to win the game.

Just because he's a big fella, does not mean he should get different treatment

I would be the first to criticise O'Shea if he deserved it, he has not set our world on fire of late, and I would not always agree with things he has done in the past but sometimes you have to row in behind one of your own. He has got dogs' abuse by opponents in the last number of years because of his size and often gets zero protection from referees as a result. He got a small break last Saturday and he has been labelled a cheat which is totally unjustified. The idea that “he's a big fella he can take it” has to be eradicated by all referees. Same rules for everyone. A Fermanagh back ran towards him at half time and gave him a dig while walking off the pitch, totally unnecessary and dirty and no action taken. That is the level of abuse he has to deal with every time he takes the field. Maybe it is time the “experts” analysed some of these incidents. Mayo need to unify as a result of this, the neutrals seem to be swaying away from Mayo as a second favourite team because of negative press over the last year. Siege mentality is the way forward, keep things tight within their own bubble, and the next time an opponent acts the goat with O'Shea, I wish he would lay down a marker, the opponent thereafter may not be so forthcoming with his insults and snide jabs, although I would rather he'd wait for the national league if he were to take such action as we need him for the rest of the championship.

Leaders stood up when needed

Mayo can be thankful to Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, and the impact of our substitutes for instigating our second half revival, both Boyle and Keegan were real leaders on the field again and chipped in with three points between them while the experienced quartet of Barry Moran, Alan Dillon, Donal Vaughan, and Andy Moran were crucial to Mayo outscoring Fermanagh by 1-10 to 0-2 in that second half. The single item I was most impressed with though was the way Mayo handled the taking of the penalty. Fermanagh had dress rehearsed such a scenario. If Mayo get a penalty, let a man go down to delay the kick while the others inflict verbal and physical abuse to the taker. Andy Moran had the ball in hand and endured all of the abuse. Fermanagh went to town on him. When it was time to take the kick Moran coolly handed the ball to the team captain who duly dispatched. Fermanagh were gobsmacked, they had tried to psyche out and intimidate the wrong man, as Moran took the abuse O'Connor was getting focused. It was a touch of genius, whoever came up with the idea.

Kildare not what they were

I expect Mayo to account for the Lilywhites tomorrow evening, this is a team that defeated Wexford by one point and lost to Westmeath (both division 4 teams next year ). They are not the force they once were. The Wexford game excluded, they conceded a massive 15-41 in their last three games in Croke Park, against Clare in this year's division three final and last year against Dublin and Kerry. Mayo need to get stuck into them from the get go as they are a fragile unit. A comfortable win predicted.


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