Éamonn Fitzmaurice explains Aidan O'Shea's best position and how it can be used against Kerry 1 month ago

Éamonn Fitzmaurice explains Aidan O'Shea's best position and how it can be used against Kerry

"I’ve long felt that it’s his best position."

When a young Aidan O'Shea broke onto the Mayo team a decade ago, he was a bulldozer of a player, full of energy, power and dynamism.

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The Breaffy native was also a fantastic tackler, and could disposes his opponents through guile and timing just as effectively as he could through brute strength.

So with all of these qualities at his disposal, the question was simply - where do you play him?

During his county career, he has played just about everywhere, from full forward, all the way back to full back.

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In the league campaign this year they were trialing him as a number 6, while in the All-Ireland final last season he was sporting the number 11 jersey on his back, leading the attack.

Throughout most of his career however, he has probably played primarily in midfield, and that looks likely to be where he will play this weekend, when the Connacht side face All-Ireland favourites, Kerry.

However, former Dublin legend Ciarán Whelan, believes that James Horan should be coy with his selection of O'Shea.

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"Would he spook Jack O’Connor if he stuck Aidan O’Shea in on the edge of the square?" he told RTE.

"Even if they put a couple of balls in in the opening ten minutes, and even if they didn’t win them, it refocuses the Kerry management mindset, distracts them and it just offers something different."

Former Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice, has had to plan a few team meetings around stopping the Mayo man in his day, and believes that Whelan is spot on with his assessment.

"I 100% agree," added Fitzmaurice. "I’ve long felt that it’s his best position. And if Mayo used him in there he could be very effective as a target man, maybe not as a huge scoring threat, he’d probably score more goals than points.

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"Take Tadhg Morley’s role, which has been very important for Kerry this year, and if he is setting up for a traditional Mayo attack, he is beginning as a sweeper further out, he’s playing from the top of the 'D', his job as a sweeper is to deal with runners.

"Whereas if you had Aidan O’Shea inside as a target man, Morley has to drop 20 yards deeper to deal with kick-ball inside and it creates the space outside for the runners to come in as well.

"So straight away, that little bit of a change to Tadhg’s role, it changes the dynamic for him.

"James Horan will argue that his way of playing is effective and it has got them so far but it hasn’t won them the big, big games, so I do think that they need to come with something slightly different this weekend."