AFTER watching O’Shea run himself into the ground in two big championship games in seven days, for a combined total of more than three hours, it’s hard to believe that he’s been managing a groin injury in recent times.
But Mayo’s medical team have obviously worked wonders, and last Saturday O’Shea delivered another man of the match performance and played a key role in Mayo’s victory.
His power and strength were a big issue for Clare all through, but his footwork and handling also caught the eye as he kept the ball moving forward more often than not.
He kept it simple, drove through for an inspirational point, and showed the sort of focus that augurs well for the future.
THIS was the quintessential game of two halves from the versatile Knockmore half-forward-cum-linkman.
He tried to deliver long, defence-splitting passes to the inside forwards in the opening half but it just wasn’t happening for him, and it seemed to be eroding his confidence.
But when McLoughlin went back to running hard at Clare’s defence in the second half, he was a revelation.
He was definitely in the shake-up for man of the match after a series of piercing runs sliced Clare open, and his use of the ball was both smart and incisive in the second period.
SO often Mayo’s unsung hero, we liked the way the Belmullet defender went about his work in the backline on Saturday.
His combative approach was badly needed when the going got tough against Clare, and his ability to come sweeping out of defence with the ball, and get it moving downfield positively, was a big part of Mayo’s attacking strategy.
He also read breaks well, never left any team-mate isolated, and was only too happy to engage Clare forwards when they came into his territory.
Along with Colm Boyle, Barrett sets the ground-rules in the Mayo defence and he’s getting better with every game.