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Mayo’s time is now says O’Shea


LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Seamie O’Shea announced his retirement from inter-county football back in January after playing for 10 seasons. Pic: Sportsfile

Edwin McGreal

MAYO need to make the most of the final years of some of their more experienced campaigners. That’s according to recently-retired Mayo midfielder Séamie O’Shea who believes that reaching an All-Ireland final last year with so many new players ‘bodes well’ for the future for Mayo.
But he feels that time is of the essence if Mayo are to reach the promised land.
“I think we’re in a pretty good spot,” the 34-year-old from Breaffy told The Mayo News. “We’re as close as anybody else. There’s still a bit of a gap to Dublin to be fair, but I think we’re in a good position.
“We won a Connacht title last year. In 2019 we were falling apart with injuries but still won a league title and got to an All-Ireland semi-final.
“Last year we introduced a whole load of younger fellas and some of us older fellas weren’t involved as much anymore and we won a Connacht title and got to an All-Ireland Final.
“That bodes well for when those young fellas obviously progress and get a bit more experience and get better and other fellas come on and improve the panel, so I think there’s a good future there for Mayo.
“But there’s still a lot of really important players that we need to make the most of their time there, the likes of Leeroy (Keegan), Aidan (O’Shea) and Cillian (O’Connor). Those fellas aren’t going to be around forever and they’re going to be very hard to replace. So, I think there’s definitely an opportunity there over the next few years to be successful.”
O’Shea saw no game time in 2020 but watched at close quarters as a host of young players made their championship bows. Many of them impressed during Mayo’s championship run, but their experienced team-mate stressed the consistency needed to become a top player.
“It was a very different team last year and they did really well,” said O’Shea.
“The young lads in particular, the likes of Tommy (Conroy), Oisin (Mullin), Eoghan (McLaughlin), Ryan (O’Donoghue) all did brilliantly.
“It is going to take more of them to do that. I think sometimes as a young fella when you come in, good performances tend to carry more weight than an older fella because it’s all new and it’s fresh. Those lads are going to have to be able to do that on a consistent basis to become top players.
“So, what we expect from the likes of Leeroy or Paddy (Durcan) or Diarmuid (O’Connor) and these players, that’s what’s expected on a consistent basis all the time and that’s what will be required to maintain that kind of success that we’ve had. And then we will need more. “Like there’s other really good players there, the likes of Jack Coyne, Mark Moran and David McBrien. There’s a lot of talent there. So we'll need those lads to do something similar to what the other young lads did last year.
“The other thing I think people forget is that Jason Doherty is coming back from injury. “Brendan Harrison is coming back from injury, they’re hugely important. From a leadership perspective, guys with experience, they’re seriously good footballers and they’ve still got a huge amount to offer Mayo, so the sooner they can get back, the better.”

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