Defiant Aidan O’Shea adamant weaker counties should amalgamate

All-Star Mayo forward Aidan O’Shea insists he stands by his comments about weaker counties joining together to form amalgamations in the football championship, despite being accused of being ‘disingenuous’.

The powerful Breaffy attacker sparked debate two years ago when he suggested smaller counties should pool their resources to potentially achieve success.

Amalgamations occur regularly at club level and O’Shea believes similar ‘franchises’ would work well at inter-county level.

He accepted it’s unlikely to happen any time soon, particularly as the GAA has shown no appetite for radical change in the recent debate over Championship reformat.

But the five-in-a-row Connacht medallist insisted his opinion still holds good.

“I did get a bit of stick about it when I mentioned it but I don’t think it’s that outlandish really,” said O’Shea.

“Again, it’s something that might happen. I see things about B Championships and Division 4 teams etc. But I think teams would like to take part in a competition that they have a chance of winning.

“I might be wrong but if there was an amalgamation of a county or two, they might have a chance of winning and I think that’s better than taking part in a competition you know you’re not going to win.”

Asked what criticism he received over the franchise suggestion, O’Shea shrugged. “Well, I’m probably speaking from a county that wouldn’t want to amalgamate with someone because of our playing population and the size of our county. I’m sure some players would feel I was being a bit disingenuous to other counties when I said what I did, and possibly I was, but I just feel if you were playing with a team that had a better chance of winning that it would be better for everybody. That would be my way of seeing it.”

The 25-year old International Rules player admitted he’s frankly tired of discussing championship reform at this stage. The present debate over which championship structure is best for Gaelic football has been going on since last May and will continue until Congress next month at least.

“To be honest with you, I haven’t even looked at the model they’ve put forward,” admitted O’Shea. “I’m so sick of the championship structures and them talking about it. I didn’t look at the GPA one or I didn’t even look at the one that was eventually put forward. I don’t know. Look, it’s going to take a huge sea change.

“You have your provincial councils and if somebody dared say you’ve got to get rid of the provincial councils, they’d have a heart attack. But, eventually, some radical young fella is going to go in there into the GAA and try to knock a few heads together.”

O’Shea was speaking at the announcement he will taking part in AIB’s ‘The Toughest Trade’ documentary. It involves switching to another sport for a week and, in O’Shea’s case, he will team up with an as yet unknown American Football team.

At six foot four and 100kg, O’Shea is a big Gaelic football player but admitted he expects to be dwarfed by the NFL players.

“I’m going to be small out there to be honest about it,” said O’Shea. “I expect to be anyway. Look at some of the weights and stuff, boys my size, six foot four, they could have 20kgs on me, which is insane.

“I’m going there with a totally open mind. I don’t even know what I’m going to be doing. There’ll definitely be something I’ll take out of it. But, yeah, these guys are freaks of nature so we’ll see when I get over there.”

O’Shea won’t miss any Allianz League game time as the trip corresponds with the extended break between Rounds 2 and 3.

He hopes to play in the opening rounds of the competition against Cork this weekend and then Dublin before flying out the following day.


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