Éamonn Fitzmaurice believes Aidan O’Shea’s new role in the full forward line showed plenty of promise as he impressed for Mayo against Armagh.
Mayo recorded a second draw of the Allianz League campaign at the Athletic Grounds, although they should have claimed victory against Armagh as they found themselves five points up in the 66th minute.
While Mayo’s late collapse will be a worry for Kevin McStay, O’Shea’s performance was a reason for optimism as the Breaffy man returned to the starting team and provided Armagh with plenty of problems.
Former Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice was speaking on RTE’s The Sunday Game and argued that O’Shea’s shift from midfield to full forward has been a significant success so far.
Éamonn Fitzmaurice on Aidan O’Shea.
“Kevin is on record in saying that’s where he sees him at his best. I think today there was definitely an improvement from last weekend,” Fitzmaurice said of O’Shea.
“As the game went on he certainly felt more at home. He’s very good at this kind of pop ball inside, he won the mark and kicked it over. It’s a good score for him and he kind of settled inside.
“This [long ball in] from Jordan Flynn, a fantastic ball inside, that’s unmarkable really really when you have someone inside of his size and presence.
“I think if you were looking for an improvement from Mayo from last weekend, they didn’t use him at all last weekend, whereas today they actively used him and it was a success.
“It’s something that’s definitely work keeping an eye on.”
“They didn’t use Aidan O’Shea at all last weekend, whereas today they actively used him. And it was a success.”
Éamonn Fitzmaurice analyses Aidan O’Shea’s performance in Mayo’s draw against Armagh. #RTEGAA #AllianzLeagueSunday pic.twitter.com/7Brt5hUDBa
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) February 5, 2023
Two draws from two.
Mayo salvaged a draw late on against Galway thanks to Ryan O’Donoghue, while they let a healthy lead slip against Armagh to share the spoils again at the Athletic Grounds.
McStay will be reasonably happy with what he has seen from his team so far, although he will be very eager to notch his first competitive victory as Mayo manager.
Winning certainly won’t be easy in the next round as Mayo welcome reigning All-Ireland and Allianz League champions Kerry to Castlebar, especially after the Kingdom made light work of Monaghan at the weekend.
Kerry ended Mayo’s title aspirations in the league and championship last year, so McStay’s men won’t be lacking in motivation when the two sides meet again.
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