Aidan O’Shea is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

The votes are in and counted on the MOTM poll from yesterday’s hugely satisfying win over Donegal up in Ballybofey. This one had an obvious winner and it’s no surprise that you’ve voted Aidan O’Shea as our MOTM from the game. He was also selected for the honour on TG4 as well as being included in the GAA’s Team of the Week and on the shortlist for the GAA’s Football Player of the Week.

Aidan was just unstoppable yesterday. He’s a better outlet for the ball this year, in large part because – at last, only fifteen years since he broke into the Senior team – we’re finally sending him ball that he can do something with.

He was a lurking danger upfront yesterday, where he enjoyed the best of his exchanges with Donegal ‘keeper Shaun Patton. As well as tackling and harrying, claiming ball and offloading it, yesterday he went for the posts himself, scoring one from play, two marks and this delicious free from out the right wing.

Those of you who have listened to the Final Whistle pod we recorded right after the game will have heard Donegal’s Martin McHugh pay fulsome tribute to the Breaffy club man. He said we’re lucky to have him and, you know, he’s not wrong.

While we were chatting up on the terrace, down below us on the pitch, getting on for half an hour after the game was over, Aidan was still out there, making time for supporters young and old. Top man.

Aidan wins this week’s MOTM award having claimed 30% of the vote. His Breaffy club mate Matthew Ruane put in his best performance of the year to date in yesterday’s game, bagging three first half points to top what was a barnstorming display, one that earned him 21% of the vote.

Conor Loftus, settling nicely into a backline position that gives him a licence to bomb forward at will, comes next on 9%. He’s joined on that mark by Paddy Durcan, another strong performer yesterday, with Colm Boyle on the pod remarking that Paddy showed glimpses of the kind of form that won him an All-Star a few years ago.

They weren’t the only prominent players for us yesterday, as the voting leaderboard below confirms, on a day when most of the lads can be very happy with how the game went for them. Well done to them all and, in particular, to Aidan O’Shea, our MOTM from yesterday’s game.

31 thoughts on “Aidan O’Shea is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Aidan is rejuvenated and has proven a lot of the doubters on here completely wrong. Fair play to Mc Stay as he always said his best position was close to goal. I learned that when Down played Mayo in the u 21 in Longford if I recall correctly.
    We should now go all out to win the League as our position in the last 16 is guaranteed. I’m not worried about a Connaught Final. Even if we win Connaught it won’t make any difference for Sam to where we are now. Sam is our man.

  2. Aidan is should be taking all those tight right-sided frees when he is on the pitch. Absolute no brainer, he’s well able.

  3. Congrats to Aidan, delighted for him. Scoring 4 points in a game is great to see. Have to admit, I mumbled to myself, why is he taking that free. But fair play to him, he nailed it. What on earth have management been doing with him. This young lad could have a bright future.

  4. Aidan was a revelation yesterday. In fact he has been revelation all for all of this campaign.
    In hindsight the lack of quick deliveries into the FF line during Horanball did not suit his style. It’s just the way it is. The McStayway seems to suit him.
    Interestingly it is crazy how confidence can breed better performances. When before did we see Aidan O’Shea grabbing the ball for a difficult free – putting his laces through it – and slotting it over confidently?
    4 points, a number of assists, keeping two to three backs honest. What a display!
    He has been the player of the league for Mayo so far. Definitely. If not the overall best player in the league
    We are lucky to have him. And we will miss him big time when he is gone.
    If we keep him fit, and in this form, we will go far this year.

  5. Goodman Aidan.

    He’s having a great year so far, and long may it continue.

    We need to keep the foot to the floor now and full pelt ahead. No let up.

    Hon Mayo.

  6. I’d add WJ that it isn’t just sending him ball he can do something with, it is the overall movement of our forwards that are also helping. We are always having two players inside, constantly moving over and back, that makes it difficult for any sweeper in front to read. Added to this is how big we are now making the pitch with half forwards hugging the touchline and players not just gathering around the 45 yard line waiting to run into a wall of a defence.

    Carney’s point against Donegal one of the best examples of that forward movement and creating space. It’s early days but you’d imagine it can only get better.

  7. Delighted for Aidan! He can now use his energy to inflict damage up front where it suits his particular physique and not having to be chasing all over the field, trying to keep up with lighter, faster players with massive amounts of stamina. Teams like Dublin exploited this and Aidan sometimes ended up being exposed. He’s a very big man and that type of role just didn’t suit him. If things kept going in that direction Aidan would possibly have been relegated to the sub bench. That’s where a lot of people would have put him (the sub bench) myself included.
    Why he did not make a great success of FF in the past is a good question. Was it that he didn’t like playing there at all and preferred to be at midfield or that the style of play and the quality of the ball into him was poor? Because now he has proven that, not only can he play FF but, he’s deadly in there. And credit for this must go to Aidan himself and Kevin McStay.
    Well done Aidan and well done Kevin and company.

  8. This has been standing out for a few years now. New management have shown the nouse to follow through. Even on fast pitches Aiden will be a huge danger if he stays forward at all times. He will stop any roving goalies also. He deserves as much credit as can be given. A true son of Mayo. This could be big yet

  9. After all these years we finally have a big target man that is being utilised properly. Aidan looks in such good shape this year which seems to suggest he’s put in serious work on his own pre Mayo restarting. His inter county footballing story reminds me so much of Liam McHale in his Mayo days. A big outstanding midfielder who was thrust into full forward to create havoc but was fed a stream of ridiculous balls that played into the defenders hands. Kevin McStay and co have obviously worked on the type of supply needed and so far it’s bearing fruit. I imagine Liam would be instrumental in this as he’s the only one on the coaching team to have been in Aidan’s position. The good thing about this role for Aidan is that it’s early days and both himself and his suppliers should continue to improve. Could be a few more motm awards to come this Summer hopefully.

  10. It looks to my eye like Aidan is passing the ball over the bar. He’s just trusting his technique and getting a good smooth connection.

  11. Well done to Aidan,I must say this is the first time ever I didn’t vote for man of the match because I thought that it was a complete team performance,I have always said that we might not win an all Ireland with him,but we certainly won’t win it without him

  12. Thrilled for Aidan’s continued form and rejuvenation.

    I think it’s partly the new way management are using him but also an improved attitude on his own part. Management of course have instilled a new belief and confidence in him which helps in this regard, but he has bought into it. Staying put inside the 40 is key, him not being gassed as other posters have described well. Being patient. But the great thing is he doesn’t have to be too patient because there’s a power of ball coming in, and this will continue under the McStayWay. Love it.

    Credit to management for getting the most out of him and for coaching the team in how to use Aidan in the best way, while still playing as a ‘team’. It’s impressive stuff.

  13. The real key piece is the absolute powerhouse of an engine we have at midfield, in Mattie, Jordan, Carney, Diarmuid. Aidan simply isn’t needed there. He’s far more effective inside now. It makes it easier when the decision is removed from the equation, ie there’s now only one option. Inside and nowhere else so that removes lots of pressure.

  14. Aiden had a great game on Sunday, make a fool of Donegal keeper a few times with his tackling of him , most teams let the keeper come out the field with the ball unhindered but not Aiden.

    Leave The Bear Around The Square.

  15. Aidan doing very well and I was one of the naysayers who was against him at full forward. But so far so good. Good ball going in, he’s got support and he’s laying it off quick.

    He’s even kicking some marks and a free the last day too but to expect that every day is not realistic. He’s a confidence player and will miss the odd one. People can’t start getting on his back when he does miss (was never the best shooter anyways).

    But I have to say its going swimmingly thus far. The real tests are to come

  16. But that’s the point Mayo Focus, of course he will miss some of those frees – so will Ryan or Cillian. Just stick with him – he’s a confidence player. See his little fist pump after he scored the free? I mean the game was won and there was no need to be getting excited but you can tell he felt the pressure of taking a free and really wanted to score it. I hope McHale and McStay give him all the confidence he needs because he could win his 2nd All Star at 14 if they do.

  17. David McBrien got a mark under a high ball in the second half.

    It was an excellent catch but, and please correct me if I’m wrong, the defensive mark isn’t actually a thing.

  18. @FrostTHammer: Spot on.

    “i) When a player catches the ball cleanly from a kick-out, without it touching the ground, on or past the 45m line nearest the kick-out point.
    (ii) When a player catches the ball cleanly on or inside a 45m line from a kick in play (i.e. not from set-play) delivered by an attacking player on or beyond the opposing team’s 45m line, that travels at least 20m and without it touching the ground.”

    We’ve been one of the teams taking full advantage of the attacking mark this year. Not a fan of the rule to be honest but as long as it’s in the game I’m all for us using it to advantage.

    An early high ball or two for Donegal looked a little dangerous but the lads, especially David, quickly got on top there and snuffed it out. Solid performance from him again defensively, says a lot when it was probably his least impressive of the year and still good, but he was absolutely outstanding going forward at the weekend.

    Never seemed to be caught out of position (probably says more about Donegal’s lack of pressure or turnovers) and was frequently helping to pull the defence all over the place. Huge part to play in Ryan’s goal but was in similar positions and situations multiple times creating space for others around him. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him getting on the end of a few of those moves this year.

  19. The clear difference this year is the quality of ball into Aidan isn’t just hoofed in and he’s expected to win it with a man hanging off him.

    This year the use of a 20-30 yard dink pass or a long fisted pass has been to Aidans benefit. Also there is runners off him coming with intent.

    It was always mind boggling using Aidan at FF in previous years and the quality of ball into him being terrible. Also when it did come in and break off him no runners inside. Leaving him isolated on so many occasions.

    He also at times nearly needs to be rugby tackled to earn a free of a referee. No man in the country takes the abuse like him on the ball. Because the specimen he is can’t buy a free off a referee at times. Philly McMahon had a field day pulling, punching and dragging out of him in years gone by with little or no protection from referee’s.

    The one thing I will say is he always was a great league player, let’s hope he can be as effective when the ground gets harder and faster ball will be delivered.

  20. What is it about Donegal that brings out the best in Aido?

    2013, 2017 (more on that later) and yesterday in Ballybofey.

    His hounding of Patton and the FB line was master-class stuff. I saw it live but at a distance on Sunday. If anyone has recorded it, just sit back and enjoy it close up and in slow mo. Simply delicious! And Patton is very good I think – his kicks were like guided missiles. The pressure O’Shea put which led to Ryan’s free in (brought forward too!) was a killer for Donegal.

    And 2017 in Castlebar? Don’t take my word for it. Here’s an extract of Keith Duggan’s IT report (sadly Keith no longer covering sport for the Times), from Willie Joe’s magnificent archives:

    “Mayo 1-12 Donegal 0-13

    Aidan O’Shea entered this game after 46 minutes, just when Moody’s were about to issue a downgrade Mayo’s triple A rating. They trailed by 1-6 to 0-13 and some of the Donegal supporters among the 14,000 strong crowd were browsing through or phoning the Dergvale for league final lodgings. Word was that up in Clones Monaghan were having a merry old time against Dublin.

    O’Shea’s first act was to dispossess Michael Murphy even as the big Glenswilly man was eyeing up the Mayo posts. Murphy, it should be noted, was streets ahead of the pack at this stage, playing a magisterial game. O’Shea’s next act was to star in a very heated brawl involving ten players in which he squared up with Murphy.

    The exchange was enough to pump up the volume in Castlebar to somewhere between full and outright anarchy. The next score, when it finally arrived, was a sweet, outside of the boot dart from Keith Higgins, nominally fullback but now deep in Donegal country as Mayo pressed up on their visitors with rabid intensity.

    From the stands came the war cry. From therein, Mayo owned the game. Donegal would not score for the last half hour. In fact, they struggled to take the ball past their own half way. They lost Eamonn Doherty to a red card for kicking out at- who else- Aidan O’Shea after 57 minutes…”

  21. I remember that 2017 game in Castlebar well Catcol. We looked in line for a trimming with Michael Murphy lording the day until Aido came on and totally nullified Murphy who could have been marked absent for the rest of the game and Donegal lost all sanity. It was a bizarre scenario I felt. They seemed to concentrate all their efforts on just belting Aido, rather than playing football. This was aided by the inept Cormac Reilly who totally lost control of the game and bottled any opportunity to properly punish the many transgressions on Aido until a Donegal lad kicked him in the nuts right in from of him. Even Reilly couldn’t pretend he’d not seen that one as the reaction from the crowd was enough in itself.

  22. An opposition player can call a defensive mark on the same kick, yes.
    It’s the same kick, just won by an opposition player.

  23. It is indeed, Exile. That’s three consecutive games now where the player to win the MOTM award here on the blog goes on to win the GAA’s Player of the Week award. You’re all either a very discernible lot or else you’re voting heavily in both polls every week!

  24. You’re right FDB. O’Shea was a magnet that day for everything. But, as Keith Duggan pointed out, nullifying Murphy who had been everywhere, was crucial. Donegal were rebuilding and thought good, couldn’t deal with our old stagers when the heat came on – hence their ploy to ‘sort out’ O’Shea. Some sorting!

  25. When Aiden O Shea played minor for mayo he was kicking points for fun from frees and open play,great to see him doing it again

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