Aidan O’Shea our MOTM from Sunday’s game

Big Dawg


This one should have gone up last night but I should also have left those blasted plug-ins alone so it’s only now I’m getting to it. The Man of  the Match poll was vaporised with the site’s meltdown but not before I remembered all the vital stats on how the vote was going, which was that Aidan O’Shea was the clear winner with 52% of all votes cast, followed by Patrick Durcan on 12%, Diarmuid O’Connor on 11%, Kevin Keane on 6% and Jason Doherty on 4%.

There were over 200 votes cast before the poll went wallop and needless to say I’ve no documentary evidence of any kind to back up these figures. You’ll have to take this one on trust, I’m afraid.

Congrats to Aidan on this well-deserved gong for what was in every sense a storming performance for us on Sunday. I see that he has since completed what is now a well-established double, by also bagging the GAA’s Player of the Week award so well done to the Big Lad on that one too.

43 thoughts on “Aidan O’Shea our MOTM from Sunday’s game

  1. Well done to Aiden, he is a great player, just what we need, in at full forward, a consistant ball winner. The way he was used Sunday worked a treat. he was drifting in and out of full forward to centre forward and at mid field contesting the throw -in, at the start
    It was great to see Danny Kirby getting game time.I think he looked very compfortable at mid field. he is a fine big lad, has got stronger, he is mobile and won’t be intimidated.
    He is an option in the full forward line , as another ball winner and Pat Holmes will know him well, from the Mitchells, to get him operating at his full potential.
    Tom Parsons is due back , shortly, as is Andy Moran and Alan Dillon, so competition for the jersey ( as they hope for down in Kerry, as well) will be great.
    My option in attack would be, depending on the opposition, Kevin Mcloughlin,Cillien O Connor Jason Doherty Danny Kirby Aiden O Shea and Alan Freeman. All fine footballers with a physical presence.

  2. I hope no one challenges this result with the CCCCC….. or any other GAA rules body. It could end up like the Fitzgibbon Cup

  3. Excellent by Aidan. I’ve always believed he’s more suited to a lower mileage role. In his early years when he struggled upfront he didn’t have the fitness he has now.
    The other great thing he brings when upfront is an ability to win turnovers. Turnovers in opposition half are rare but more often result in a score.
    I’d love to see Lee Keegan tried at midfield to see how he’d get on coming into the forwards at pace. With Aidan up there the defence should be a bit more open for strike runners. Multiple threats are essential nowadays to build up a winning total.
    I also like the idea of having extra speed in midfield to close down the oppositions counter attack. Every yard of space counts when defending. Keegan is a yard or two faster than our other midfield alternatives and a more accurate shooter of points on the run.
    We can bring Aidan to wing forward or go short with our own kicks. Several opposition kicks are often short.

  4. …and a physical presence would be very welcome indeed in our full-forward line, ed. Was pleasantly surprised at the sheer size of Kirby when he came in on Sunday. If he or Aidan can do damage in the FF line against the better teams at the business end of the championship, that would give us a crucial option that we have been missing these last few years. It would also force Alan Freeman to up his game.

  5. Well done to Aidan. No matter where we play him he is still a fine footballer with the right attitude. Great to see the newcomers leading the way in your polls.Hopefully more to come in the league. Danny put in a good shift on Sunday. I have seen him at club level and I suspected his fitness in the past. Perhaps he is putting in the work that’s required now.

  6. On balance Freeman seems a better shooter of goals than points when you look at his attempts n return. Serious option to spring off the bench to nail a goal in the final 20 minutes.
    Final 20 minutes his pace counts more n more defenders are tied up on yellows. We went season after season not really treating the bench as a game breaker.
    Given the pick we have now we should also be looking at springing 3 or lads into the middle 8 with twenty minutes left. If there are marginal calls between lads (in our middle 8 we have several) it makes sense that starting lads can approach the second half knowing they can empty the tank with 15 mins of all that they have. No need to be at 90% pace as you know your subbed in 50th minute. With six subs available now we should use our strong panel to our advantage.
    Parsons/Kirby/Andy/Freeman/Durcan is just a snapshot of what five tactical subs could look like. You generally leave your last sub till very late in the game not to be stuck.

  7. That’s a very good piece of analysis JP. i think we are (or hope we are) shaping up to have a very useful bench. Compared to Monaghan, for example, where McManus and their injuries really hampered them, let alone the losses through red cards.

  8. It’s great to see c and h using aos at ff to do damage. There’s no massive athleticism like midfield needs,to be an effective ff player, a central power like aiden or Barry or Kirby will be Mayos best weapon if they use him right. Simple high accurate ball ASAP , not giving the opposition time to flood back. I think we should be taking Tomas o ses advice, practice lots of 30-40 yard kick passes and cut back on the cross field stuff, one direction a lot more, towards their goal as fast as possible which means long kick passes from midfield. Another big thing is have a plan c for when keane or caff are physically outgunned by a surprise at ff, David Moran is one i can see getting the role if donaghy is not doing it, would you honestly think either caff or keane can hold either of those or Michael Murphy? Our own aiden couldn’t be stopped last Sunday, it’s all the evidence we need that a monster is needed at fullback as well as fullforward. Id like to see seamie at fullback for a half hour against donegal if the put Murphy at ff.

  9. SOS was also shaping up to have a big game last Sunday before his untimely exit. He is so honest it would be difficult to displace him.

  10. One think that strikes me from the first few games and resultant comments is that we have a damn impressive squad.
    Our first 15 is better than most and our bench will be as strong as any.

    Please god our tag team (Pat & Noel) will provide the organisation & inspiration to take us home.

    I had expected us to lose our Connaught title this year (to Ross) and be strong through the back door, but in hindsight, I think we might see a similar year to 2013, with a different end hopefully.

    And I know, It’s only March.

  11. Dave I suggested that I’d like to see AOS tried at FB a few months ago and was nearly laughed out of the place. He doesn’t have the mobility, they said, We don’t have a big FB, they said.

    (Mind you I said something similar about him at FF the other day and who is laughing now? There’s nothing like being proved wrong and on this occasion I was more than happy!)

    We have a serious panel this year, given how well the players have developed in the past 12 months, and the depth that our newer additions have added. We were worried about Dublin’s strength on the bench this time last year. I think it’s safe to say we are well on the way to having nearly a second starting 15 on our own bench at this point.

    I am getting dangerously close to feeling optimistic again about this year ….

  12. Ann Marie, aiden could be used as a FB against these monster ffs, of course he can. People hate to go against convention but look at what Kerry did in. 2006, losing to longford and donaghy not going well in midfield, how many would have said donaghy would carry Kerry as a fullforward? Not too many.
    Mayo should be developing more and more into a panel where there’s guys that are capable of doing a job anywhere on the field, we shouldn’t be shy about trying wild stuff like aos or SOS marking Murphy or McFadden just to prove to ourselves that we can do it. Especially since we have great cover at midfield or will shortly.

  13. In 2012 after Donegal had exposed our limitations in the No. 3 position I floated of playing Seamus O’Shea at full back but it was laughed out of court. However when the same problems resurfaced against Kerry last year the idea seemed to be gaining traction once again. His masterly fielding of the final Braian Sheehan free at the end of the drawn game provided some evidence of his suitability for the position. I do not subscribe to the Idea that Keane, despite his obvious improvment, will be the bulkwark we need against Murphy,Donaghy, Hurley,Brogan or to a lesser extent Conroy when the championship gets underway. For that reason I think the deployment of Seamus O’Shea on the edge of the square should be given an extended run to allow him to grow into the role. Assuming full fitness this would be my favoured 15:
    Hennelly, Keane, S.O’Shea, Higgins, Keegan, Cunniffe, Boyle, A. O’Shea, Parsons,
    McLoughlin, Kirby, Doherty,Regan,Freeman, C. O’Connor. I consider the above 15 to be the best in those positions and and others would be of lesser quality in the positions. I believe we need A. O’ Shea at midfield to provide a platform of possession. Higgins, Keegan, Boyle, Parsons McLoughlin and Kirby are all more than capable of providing the mobility and ball carrying as well as chipping in with scores of their own. I also subscribe to the theory that you should keep your most prolific scorers close to the opponents goal.
    Overall things seem to be coming along nicely but I wouldn’t subscribe to any idea of giving the present an extended period to bed in.
    They have been close to the scene for a long time and a learning curve shouldn’t be necessary.

  14. Anne Manrie!
    Be careful of that auld optimism. I wouldn’t go near it meself!
    Now where’s that number for city west?

  15. SOS could operate as a helping out sweeper in front of the full back. In Gaelic football you can often solve one big problem with smaller multiple solutions.
    My solution to the problem of a huge full forward:
    1. Clarke in goals
    2. Keane as the ground stopper who stays down n braced.
    3. SOS as sweeper direct man to man yard in front of target man.
    Especially useful for second half if leading.
    If the opposition overcook the pass its Clarkes ball.
    If they pass perfect, then SOS competes on his own with fist. Keane is ready in case full forward collects.
    If they undercook the pass SOS has a one yard head start on a slower 6’4″+ type forward. He can come out clean with ball.
    In my view defence in Gaelic football is more about the average affect of units rather than man to man stuff. Also key is your positioning.
    One weakness I see in our defence at the moment is that any side who pick taller half forwards might cause us trouble.
    For example Rock/Connolly/Flynn of Dublin.
    Unfortunately we don’t have tall wing back options bar moving out Tom Cunniffe to centre back. I’d rather leave Cunniffe there as he adds his 6 foot to the full back line.

  16. I think maybe one big reservation people might have about AOS (or SOS) as an ’emergency’ full-back when Donaghy/Michael Murphy are around might be that they are not natural defenders. Sure, they’d match the FF for high-fielding and physicality, but there’s much more to full-back play than that; positioning, awareness, pace etc.

    Maybe using Aidan or Seamus as a sweeper, doubling up with the full-back on Murphy (or whoever) whenever high ball is launched in, might be a better bet in those situations. Both boys are well able to field ball and carry it up the pitch.

  17. We’ve been caught a few times going back over the years in positional/player mismatches. I feel things are looking good with experience being gained all the time for key players in key positions depending on the opposition. But we need to dominate and impose ourselves in games too. Having said that mayo played their own game last sunday, kept their cool and adapted and improvised in a few positions. This is the flexibility we haven’t seen enough of before. Whats vital now of course is two points from the bogside and maybe experiments like seamy at full back can be tried. All in all I’m glad we dont seem to be as rigid as we were against tyrone and maybe dublin in sept ’13.

    And to the warrior that is AOS, well done, thank you and long may you reign!

  18. Sorry to interrupt the team selection projections, but I see the Mayo News is reporting that the panel will be cut by 5 to 32 in the next couple of weeks.

    MN also reporting that U21s, Coen, Durcan and O’Connor not available for Derry and that Donie has a hamstring problem and is doubtful for Sunday. Also reporting that Carolan, Shane McHale and Richie F all fighting to get back into the panel. Figuratively fighting that is.

  19. Just saw that alright catcol. So two changes in the half-back line for sure (Colm Boyle and Tom Cunniffe to come in maybe?), maybe Kirby from the start instead of Vaughan? As for who replaces Diarmuid O’Connor – that’ll be interesting.

  20. As a sweeper you have a precise n simpler role. You don’t need to worry about man to man as much. SOS is a very good tackler for when you have to shadow men n make quick decisions n help out in corralling players.
    He’s also really secure n breaking out with the ball. Aidans goalscoring should not be removed from the forwards. You need guys who can secure you a goal every second or third game. Kevin Mc/AOS/Cillian/Freeman. Goals are predictable when you select to score them n select to prevent them. Goal getting is a definite skill that players seasonal records show they have or don’t have. Aidan has a stamina issue for midfield I thought was pretty clear by this stage.

  21. On the topic of fullbacks. It is worth noting that the supposed greatest fullback of all time – if you listen to some dubs – Rory O’Carroll, got a right old roasting off donaghy in the league game, where the guy had a hand in 7 points in a row, all without the super soft treatment he was getting from the ref in the AI semi last year… Time to stop blaming cafferkey I think. Donaghy, when getting good delivery and playing well, is borderline unplayable.

  22. Well done to Aidan O’Shea on winning the award. You know for a big man he has a lot of very skillful touches. There are not many players who are as big and strong as him that can side-foot the ball to the net, as he did for his goal. Kicking three points from play is a great return too. Fair play to the young lads as well, they have really turned up the heat on some of the more established players.

    We actually have a great goal scoring record, the past few years. If we just cut out some of the sloppy goals that we have conceded in the past, the future should be bright. With three of the current management team been former defenders, they should have a good idea how to keep our goals concession rate down. Roll on the Derry match!

  23. I agree he is borderline unplayable in man to man. Donaghy would not even be markabke in man to man by a clone of himself. The forward always has an advantage of making little tricks to buy a yard of space.
    When Kerry are going with a straight ahead pass into Donaghy you have only one proper tactic. Strong groundhog behind him who can keep under him n disrupt him. Tall sweeper in front minimun 6’3″.
    Let’s not pour over the cold ashes of Limerick but unless you swarm your full backline with bodies (which I’d hate to see us do) the tall sweeper is the simplest option. Please don’t let anyone mention about cutting out the supply. That is not possible whatsoever. A Gaelic football pitch is 80 to 90 yards in width n teams typically enjoy a minimum of 40% posession. Cutting out the supply is thrown around as a statement without any thinking about how impossible it is. If a team can have what is typically 25+ scoring attempts then by the same logic how do you prevent them landing the ball in the 15 metre circle in which Donaghy is an open receiver. As Horan himself linked James ODonoghues goal to a missed tackle out the pitch on David Moran, he noted that “it shouldn’t happen”. Well I’m watching David Moran six months later n he is still happening as he is brilliant at slipping out of double tacklers.
    Sorry for rant but “cutting out the supply” to my mind is precariously close to a defensive tactic of “lets stop their shots!”. Is literally statistically n logically impossible. The closest you could get to it would man to man in your full backline n 11 players between 30 n 60 yards who never attack…. n still a modern team would manage to kick in supply to the target man.

  24. Think aidan is the full forward màyo looking for. I was bit critcal of him for missing the goal but you need a big man there is it next wed the under 21 ones are playing and where is it on

  25. Is he necessaily a full forward or a wild rover 🙂
    I love the disruption he brings by moving around. Defences love predictable patterns of play. You become consistently unpredictable and still remain high scoring by having multiple threats from different types of play.
    I love clipped no solo points where the assist is from a guy like AOS. You could see Evan Regan being strong at those. Defences don’t have time to get a block in as the player shoots so quickly without soloing.
    Another would be full pace strike runners coming through the middle where he has brought defenders wide to cover him.

  26. Cait . It’s on Wed 11th in Castlebar I think. Feels like we have been waiting 35 years to win a game at this at this level. Would be nice to buck the trend at this stage.

  27. Well done to AOS on the award. Pleased for him. I feel he always gives his best even when things are not working out for him. Whether he is a long term solution to FF for us I am not sure but he definitely can be used there on occasions and during the course of matches. There seems a lot of positivity here towards Danny Kirby and I hope its well founded. Havent seen too much of him so not in a position to judge. People whom I have seen plenty of however are A Dillon and A Moran and going on last years performances they will be pushing for places in Summer. That’s great the stronger panel we have the better. It takes time to establish oneself as a senior inter county footballer so these new lads should be given every chance. However by the time we play Galway in June I d be surprised if we have more than 2 championship debutants starting the game.

  28. Gong on that MN report citing injuries, U21 absentees and guys dropped, we will have a very thin squad for Celtic Park.

    In my head I can’t even make it past 23. May have to make myself available.

  29. The plus side of having aidan in ff, is his ball winning ability and getting frees in scoring positions, hope he was watching donaghy on how to fall when tackled, guaranteed a free.

  30. Seamus o shea is not a full back end off.hes a fine midfielder.people seem to forget it was only in last years semi caff struggled on donaghy any time he marked donaghy before he got the better of him.people are being quick to write off caff.people wrote off padraig harington to as a golfer and see what happened.if the worse scenario like last year semi where our full back was struggling then vaughan would be the man to drop back and cover he’s quick he’s strong and he a natural defender.cant understand why people calling for Seamus o shea to be dropped back to full back no more than people calling for gibbons to play centre forward.a forward he is not a midfielder he is.we shouldn’t be compensating taking a good player out of hes position to fix a Problem in another.your just creating 2 problems then.

  31. Aiden O Shea should be given freedom of the area from C.Field to Full Forrward exactly the same as the last day. There is merit in playing S O Shea at F.Back or employ a extra man to help out K.Keane to mark Donaghy or Murphy or B.Brogan those are the 3 players that caused serious damage in the past. To my mind the best player to carry out this task would be K.McLaughlin in the same way that M.McHugh done this task for Donegal.Kevin has the engine for this job and would be in a great position to launch attacks from deep in our half.
    I think Pat Noel and M.Collins deserve credit for restructuring the team from the previous game and their timely use of the bench was excellent with two of the subs rattling the net.
    More of same next Sun.will do nicely.

  32. Who are favs for under 21 championship this year what’s happened to c loftus this season is he Injuried would be a great addition to the squad.

  33. Roscommon prob favourites for connacht anyway.conor Loftus back training with under 21s as far as I know.was out over year with injury.if he is injury free expect him on senior team this year he is a real talent.

  34. Diehard, there was more than one devastated phone call made from Limerick to Citywest on 3oth August last year … though I wouldn’t bet any lessons have been learned 😀

  35. Paul Galvin back in Kerry training tonight, that gives Fitzmaurice the following options for the forward six, D Walsh, T Walsh M Geaney,B Sheehan, J Buckley, Gooch, Galvin, J O Donoghue,Donaghy, P Geaney, BJ Keane,K O Leary and S O Brien. There will be some skelping for places in that group !!!

  36. SOS a good,natural midFer. AOS a terrific forward,
    Dont screw them up trying to make backs out of them.
    Its been done before. But not now,please.

  37. The Kerry forward strength is a bit overstated. Of that group above only BJ Keane n Donaghy are fit and consistent at the moment at inter county level in terms of a scoring threat.
    The rest are returning from injury or not scoring much in games. Paul Geaney scored heavily in the second league game.
    Stephen OBrien/Kieran OLeary/Mike Geaney arent producing at all. Tommy Walsh has shown no scoring threat n looks slow.
    Galvin is 35 with a noticeable drop in his running speed in 2013 which is now two years ago. Bryan Sheehan is not scoring from play but is as usual deadly from frees. JOD/Cooper coming back from injury.
    Walsh/Buckley half forwards who won’t turn a game on their own, tackling n a lot of stopping defenders by any means from counter attacking.

  38. Well done Aidan, super effort and well deserved MOTM. But lets steady on folks. Not the answer to our problems all of a sudden. He is an option but this is one league game he’s played very well in. Aidan has played FF before, albeit when he was a lot less experienced than today.

    A great performance and hopefully he can build on it going forward.

  39. Cudnt give a monkeys if Mick o Connell,Micko Dwyer; Tom Crean or anyone else were in the panel for Kerry!

  40. I thought Kevin Keane had a stormer
    again on Sunday, he is so strong under
    the dropping ball.
    I have watched him from his minor days and feel he is now showing his
    true ability.


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