Mayo star Aidan O'Shea expects a 'streetwise' Galway
AIDAN O'SHEA is expecting to meet a "more streetwise" Galway when Mayo launch their quest for a Connacht SFC five-in-a-row next month.
The province's two traditional heavyweights will renew their age-old rivalry in Pearse Stadium on June 14. Mayo have won their last two summer duels emphatically - by 4-16 to 0-11 in a Salthill cakewalk two years ago, and then by 3-14 to 0-16 in last year's Connacht decider at MacHale Park.
This time, however, Mayo will be going in cold whereas their neighbours already have two victories - over New York and Leitrim. Moreover, their concession of some 42 frees in Carrick-on-Shannon has suggested that Galway under the new management of Kevin Walsh won't be looking to engage in any free-flowing shootout the next day.
"Yeah, strange statistic from the Leitrim game," said O'Shea, in reference to that free count.
"I didn't see the game but, look, Galway will be a wee bit more streetwise this year. The last couple of years they've played six-on-six all over the field and we've dealt with them quite easily, so they'll definitely play a wee bit more defensive.
"It's not in their nature to do that, but they've got some great footballers up front so they might be able to drop one off into their defence. But they'll be a lot stronger than they have been over the past couple of years. I have no doubt about that."
By the same token, Mayo's roving colossus has predicted a less gung-ho approach under their new joint managers.
"We have put ourselves in a position to win games quite often, last year being a perfect example against Kerry, twice ... and failed to see it out," O'Shea recounted.
"We are very attack-minded at times. We have altered that in the league, we have been holding players back, not been playing as freely as we would have in previous years."
Asked if this might take something from Mayo, he replied: "It may do. But the answer to that is I would prefer to win 12-10 than lose 18-17."