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Oisin’s news is great news

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LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Mayo’s Oisín Mullin is pictured during last September’s All-Ireland SFC Final against Tyrone at Croke Park. Pic: Sportsfile

Talking Tactics
Billy Joe Padden

THE news that Oisin Mullin has decided to stay in Ireland and not to take up Geelong’s offer to go and play Aussie Rules is great news for Mayo football.
It’s been a long, protracted period of uncertainty for everyone involved, and I just hope that Oisin is at peace with the decision that he’s made.
I’m sure he is, and I’m sure his family is too. Now they will get to see him develop as a person and as a footballer with Kilmaine and with Mayo.
I think you have to look at the announcement that Oisin is staying in two ways.
Firstly, from a footballing perspective, and what he brings to the Mayo team. And also from the dressing-room perspective, and what impact his personality will have on the group.
In terms of his football ability, it’s absolutely huge. He’s a double Young Footballer of the Year and you have to remember that we didn’t see him at his best last year because of injury. He played in the All-Ireland Final without being fully fit.
Also, he had to play at times in the full-back line last season and he’s not a natural full-back.
So I think we’re going to see a better and fitter Oisin in action for Mayo in the years ahead, and that’s very exciting when you consider what a dynamic athlete he is.
You’re going to see a player who can drive Mayo forward from the half-back line.
In terms of his presence in the dressing-room, he’s obviously got a tight bond with the lads around his own age and I’m sure it won’t be long until he develops into a leadership role within the squad.
You have to ask as well, what does the impact of his decision have on the Mayo squad, on James Horan, and on the supporters? Everybody gets a big boost with this news.
And that’s before he actually gets back on the field with Mayo again!
When it seemed like Oisin was going to Australia, we all heard the negative talk about the impact his loss would have on Mayo’s chances of retaining the Connacht title, never mind going on from there.
So his decision to stay will mean that Mayo players will bounce into training this week in the knowledge that Oisin is coming back to join them.
As for Kilmaine, this is the best news they will have got in years. I’m sure they had resigned themselves to Oisin leaving but now it’s like a soccer team signing a new player.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I thought it would be difficult for James Horan to change the narrative after losing an All-Ireland Final to Tyrone, especially after underperforming.
But this news about Oisin Mullin means that the mood around training and the dressing-room will lift. And the media reaction to it will also reflect positively on Mayo.
So James Horan will get a bounce from it, on a personal level, and it will also create a positive energy in his squad.
It looked like Oisin was going and then, right on the brink, it’s been turned around and his decision has worked in Mayo’s favour. You can’t buy that sort of positive publicity.
You can also be sure that Oisin’s decision won’t go unnoticed in Galway and Roscommon, two counties with designs on winning back the Connacht title.
I’d like to wish Oisin all the best in his future Mayo career and in his personal life in Mayo.
I’m sure he’ll be happy with the decision he’s made when he looks back, in years to come, on all the great things he achieved with Mayo.

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