herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

'O'Shea is the man for the big stage'

Former Mayo footballer Enda Varley. Photo: Sportsfile
Former Mayo footballer Enda Varley. Photo: Sportsfile

In any drawn match, a million threads can be pulled at and held as evidence of how or where either team might/should have won.

Mayo drew with Dublin last Saturday week despite the muted performance of Aidan O'Shea.

Linear wisdom would suggest something more in keeping with his best work could land Sam Maguire for Mayo next Sunday.

"In fairness, I think Aido does an awful lot of work off the ball," says his former attacking colleague, Enda Varley, now of St Vincent's.

"His workrate is extremely high for Mayo. His turnovers are three or four every game.

"He's the most fouled player on the Mayo team, you'll see it in the stats.

"He takes two players with him every time he goes inside," Varley points out. "When he's on the ball, he takes two, three players with him.

"If Aido maybe can release the ball a bit quicker, get that attention off him, that would hopefully help his cause a bit more.

Vanquished

"To me," Varley went on, "Aido had a very good game the last day.

"It's just he has very high standards."

Whatever about his influence from deep, O'Shea's aerial threat around the Dublin goal was successfully vanquished. On each of the few occasions he came down with possession, Dublin had a man either side so O'Shea couldn't fully pivot and threaten goal.

"When Aidan goes into the full forward line, Cian (O'Sullivan) is straight back.

"So from Mayo's point of view I just hope if Mayo can find Jason Doc in between the lines.

"He's a very underrated player," Varley insists.

"He got on a lot of ball the last day and caused Cian a few problems.

"If you can bring Cian out and then leave Aido a bit isolated inside in a one-on-one situation, it would help Mayo's cause no end."

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