O’Shea sticks to his guns

Aidan O’Shea maintains he was head-butted by Philly McMahon in last month’s drawn All-Ireland semi-final.

The 2014 All Star also argues Dublin should have had 1-1 of their total discounted in the replay.

However, he acknowledges the All-Ireland finalists were too strong in the closing straight, saying Mayo “were probably the architects of [their] own downfall”.

McMahon insisted he didn’t head-butt O’Shea, but the Mayo man has countered: “I got a bit of stick for my honesty after the incident. I didn’t need to say anything, because everyone could see from the tape. I wasn’t concerned with it.

“I didn’t want Philly to be out for the following week or anything like that. The first game took on a life of its own in regard to how it was refereed and it was totally refereed differently the second day. There was less s***e going on around the place and more focus on the football.

“My incident with Philly was the least of some of the stuff that was going on.”

After Kevin Keane was cleared to face Dublin the first day, it was said Mayo couldn’t complain about Diarmuid Connolly’s 11th hour reprieve for the replay.

O’Shea remarks: “Kevin Keane was used as a comparison, but Kevin was like any Gaelic footballer who didn’t want to miss a game. He definitely didn’t expect to get off. The reason for that was having the two CAC (Central Appeals Committee) lads stepping down for it (chairman Liam Keane and Dublin’s Declan Hallisey), the main guys on that panel.

“I know Diarmuid from college (DIT) and I wouldn’t have liked to see him miss the replay. It wouldn’t have concerned us whether he did or didn’t play. People know he probably shouldn’t have got off. I don’t really understand the reason behind why he got off. It didn’t have an impact on us. The longer the process went on the more chance we felt he was going to get off, though.

“It’s not a Diarmuid Connolly issue; it’s more a wider disciplinary issue than just Diarmuid Connolly and Kevin Keane. The closer you get to the end of the season the more lenient the rules seems to get.”

O’Shea contends he didn’t foul Denis Bastick prior to Lee Keegan missing a chance to put Mayo five points clear last Saturday week.

“They got back into it with a handy free. It was called against me on Bastick, but I don’t think it was a free.

“That was a two-point swing after Lee’s chance, but their power off the bench was something I don’t think we were going to be able to live with.”

Like Keegan last week, O’Shea defends goalkeeper Rob Hennelly in the wake of widespread criticism for the first Dublin goal.

“Darragh Ó Sé was extremely harsh on Rob. He wasn’t at fault for the goals. The first goal, Brian Fenton runs from the centre of the pitch straight through and he mishits the ball and unfortunately for us yet again the ball falls into Bernard Brogan’s lap and he toe-pokes it in.

“The second goal: On replay it’s quite obvious Bernard Brogan throws the ball, but he shouldn’t also be allowed to run in along the sideline. McMahon with momentum coming in on top of Robbie, it was always going to be difficult to stop.

“Barry [Moran] had just gone off, Seamie (O’Shea) was off with a black card. If you look at the video, Cillian [O’Connor] is marking Brian Fenton for that first goal. You’d have to wonder why we had Cillian on their midfielder.”

O’Shea says last year’s championship exit was more difficult to take than last month’s defeat, as they had put themselves in positions to win both days against Kerry “even stronger than against Dublin. There was also desperation. We all felt it was probably going to be James’ [Horan] last year, whereas this year it was a wee bit different”.


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