Sean O'Shea reveals reason for not taking penalty against Dublin

O’Shea has emerged as one of the game’s best free-takers.
Sean O'Shea reveals reason for not taking penalty against Dublin

Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

All-Star Kerry forward Sean O’Shea has revealed he didn’t step up for last year’s crucial All-Ireland final penalty against Dublin because he gave up spot kicks years ago.

O’Shea has emerged as one of the game’s best free-takers, shooting 0-19 of his 1-21 tally in this year’s Allianz League from placed balls.

But the centre-forward doesn’t take penalties and colleague Paul Geaney took the kick that was saved by Stephen Cluxton in last year’s drawn final.

O’Shea displayed his expertise moments later by converting a 45 following Cluxton’s save though the two points dropped proved costly in the eventual stalemate.

Asked by former Kerry star Tomas Ó Sé in an interview for Benetti Menswear why he didn’t take the penalty, O’Shea said it wasn’t an option.

"I haven’t taken penalties in about five years, I’d say," said O’Shea.

I used to take them when I was younger, when I was 13, 14, 15 but I missed three or four in a row then and just packed them in after that. I never played soccer so it wouldn’t be my strong point.

O’Shea acknowledged that Kerry’s ’game management’ let them down that day with Dublin holding on for the draw despite playing the second-half with 14 men.

"Killian Spillane put us a point up with three or four minutes to go and we probably would have been disappointed with the game management," said two-time All-Ireland minor winner O’Shea. "But I think a lot of credit has to go to Dublin too, they’re very difficult to beat.

"The press they put on us, even with Cluxton going out marking Tommy Walsh, they really, really squeezed us and we couldn’t seem to get over it for five minutes.

"I suppose a lot of that comes down to experience too, not having been in that situation before, a lot of fellas’ first time there and with the pressure they put on, we probably didn’t react in the right way on the day, which is unfortunate."

O’Shea is now an established player in the Kingdom lineup and a marked man for opposing defenders.

He agreed with interviewer Ó Sé that top defenders like Lee Keegan, David Byrne, and James McCarthy now play right to the ’edge’ while marking him.

"That’s why they’re at the top of their game, those defenders, they’re playing on the edge, which is what they have to do. You have to push it as far as you can go without getting caught.

"It’s definitely something you learn from every time you go out and you try to improve on it. There’s times where it’s not going to go your way and you’re going to be under pressure, your man is going to go to pile in on top of you and it’s how you can impact the game when you’re struggling or when things aren’t going your way, it’s how you can get back on top and how you can do things to still help the team."

Still just 21, O’Shea is already one of the game’s best free-takers and revealed that he honed his craft during a gap year after secondary school.

"I wouldn’t really have been taking them for Kerry underage," he said.

"I think the main change for me was second year in minor, I’d done my Leaving Cert in 2015 and was only 16 at the time and the next year I took a year out before going to college.That year gave me a lot of time, I was working two days a week with the parents in the shop, tipping away but not doing much. The other thing I was doing was training away with the minors, so I had loads of time to go down to the field and I’d say two or three times a week I’d be down there with the bag of balls kicking, just spending two or three hours relaxing and enjoying it."

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