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A lot done, more to do, says Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea


Mayo's Colm Boyle
?Mayo wing back Colm Boyle has his eyes on the ball as he contests possession with Donegal’s Michael Murphy.?Pic: Sportsfile

A lot done, more to do, say O’Shea and Boyle

Daniel Carey

MAYO midfielder Aidan O’Shea expressed his delight at demolishing All-Ireland champions Donegal last Sunday – but warned: “It’s only a quarter-final”.
The 23-year-old put in a man-of-the-match performance as Mayo gained revenge for last September’s defeat in the All-Ireland final. James Horan’s side have been installed as favourites for the All-Ireland title, but O’Shea predicted that a ‘very strong’ Tyrone team will present a ‘huge challenge’ when the two sides meet on August 25.
“We’ve beaten the All-Ireland champions for the third year in a row, so we’re delighted,” he told The Mayo News shortly before boarding the team bus in the bowels of the Hogan Stand. “It was a good all-round performance, probably a bit slack towards the last 20 minutes, but overall, we can’t have any complaints. But it’s only a quarter-final.”
O’Shea has been garnered widespread praise for his awesome display, which came despite an early caution. He was shown a second yellow card late in the game, but as it wasn’t a straight red, he will be available for the All-Ireland semi-final. It was felt in advance of the quarter-final that Mayo needed a big game from the former DIT student, and he delivered his finest performance in the green and red.
“I thought the first yellow [card] was a bit harsh, to be honest,” the Breaffy clubman said. “But you just have to be careful. It was early in the game, and one late tackle and you’re gone. Obviously, I got sent off towards the end, which was a bit disappointing, but it [the first yellow] didn’t inhibit me for the game.”
Mayo’s lightning start – which yielded two goals in the opening 14 minutes – was a virtual carbon copy of Donegal’s last September. O’Shea praised ‘the work-rate of the forwards’ and noted that Mayo were cutting Donegal open at times, noting: “We could have got more goals”.
“It’s well documented we were slow starting last year’s All-Ireland final and it cost us the game,” he added. “A lot of people have been saying we haven’t been tested … over the last couple of months. But we were really well prepared and you’ve seen that from the start today; we were up and at it. And we got the goals, which is key in any game, and I think [they] came at great times.”
O’Shea has been impressed with Tyrone’s Seán Cavanagh, who’s in ‘very good form’ and has been ‘leading the charge’ for the Ulsterman. The Allergan Pharmaceuticals employee notes that Mayo’s semi-final opponents have been ‘slowly getting right’ at a good time in the season.
“We’ve a huge amount of work to get done over the next couple of weeks, to knuckle down and get ready for them,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Colm Boyle warned that Mayo were coming up against ‘a very good Tyrone side who have great momentum and have come through a tough qualifying campaign’, and had a great win on Saturday over Monaghan. “So it’s all to play for,” the wing back noted.
The Clifden-based garda said he hadn’t paid any attention to the pre-match war of words between the respective management teams, opting instead to ‘focus on the game’ and not ‘read anything’ in the build-up. Nor is he bothered by the favourites’ tag which now rests on Mayo’s shoulders.
“There’s no problem there,” he said. “So far as I know, we were the favourites going in today. It’s 50/50 once you cross the white line. Once you get on the pitch, it’ll be us versus them and we’ve to raise our game again. They’re going very well, we’re going well at the minute, so it’s going to be a battle.”