How Mayo can rejig their team to free Aidan O'Shea 3 years ago

How Mayo can rejig their team to free Aidan O'Shea

Mayo should keep it in the family to tame Kieran Donaghy.

Kieran Donaghy has suddenly re-emerged as a mythical, Cú Chulainn-like figure who soars beyond men that can't breach six-foot on a measuring stick. A buzz-cut brute claims high balls with the left hand and fist passes to a man in space with the right before his feet re-engage with the earth.


'Star' is a quality footballer and he has been doing damage to defences for over a decade now but men have kept him quiet in big games. He has proved human.

Following Donaghy's torture of Galway in the quarter final, talk turned to who would keep a lid on him in the semi. Aidan O'Shea, Keith Higgins, Cathal Barrett, Donal Vaughan and Lee Keegan were all mentioned as potential man-markers. The task eventually fell to O'Shea and, try as he might, the Breaffy man had some costly lapses.

With only one change - Donnchadh Walsh for Michael Geaney - in both teams for Saturday's replay, fans and pundits are wondering who will pick up the Austin Stacks targetman.

On The GAA Hour [from 36:50] Colm Parkinson, Stevie McDonnell and Conán Doherty discussed who should track Donaghy for the replay and how to free O'Shea up to get back to best position in the half forward line.

Doherty commented:

"I would put Vaughan back as I think you need a defender, first and foremost, on Donaghy. It doesn't matter about size but Vaughan is big so that helps.

"It also allows you to bring Lee Keegan back, so you're not going to lose that running power from half back and you're going to get the best out of [him] as well... It wouldn't upset the balance of the team or what Mayo are trying to do."


Parkinson was in favour of bringing in Paddy Durcan, who will now start the replay on the bench, but McDonnell has another man-marking proposal that would get O'Shea up the field - his brother, Seamus.

McDonnell said:

"Personally, I would like to see Aidan O'Shea out breaking lines and running amok around the middle of the field. Play him where he is confident in this year.

"Then maybe put in a Seamus O'Shea. He might be more effective playing in the full back line as he is not as influential for Mayo, playing out the field, as what his brother is. Seamus has the strength and the size to deal with somebody like Donaghy in the full back line. I don't think it would cause such a talking point as well."

Parkinson believes Stephen Rochford will go with Vaughan or Seamus O'Shea and that the Aidan O'Shea defensive tactic will be "discontinued".


However, as Rochford has shown us in the past, he is not afraid to back himself on big decisions.