Joe Brolly has made an interesting claim about Mayo’s All-Ireland credentials, stating that there is only one thing holding the Connacht side back from challenging Dublin – Aidan O’Shea.
The Dubs have been ruthless under the stewardship of Jim Gavin, lifting Sam Maguire for the last three years while Mayo have been forced to play the role of bridesmaid. Dublin are much fancied to make it four in a row in 2018 – but Brolly reckons one simple tweak of tactics could see Stephen Rochford’s side pip their rivals to the crown.
Speaking on the Irish Independent’s GAA podcast, The Throw In, the RTÉ pundit refused to hold back in his criticism of Breaffy forward Aidan O’Shea, stating that were he to be dropped from the Westerners’ panel they would have a better chance of success, as the All-Star winner is simply too much of a passenger come the important phases of games.
“I still make the point that I always make that while Aidan O’Shea is in that Mayo team, you’re not going to win an All-Ireland because I don’t think you can afford passengers come the key phases of big games.
“He was great against Clare and he was great against Clare in the second half.”
When speaking of O’Shea’s contribution in the 2017 All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin, Brolly was again scathing in his criticism, stating that there is no way he would make the Dublin XV as well as questioning why he was deserving of a third All-Star award for his performances on Mayo’s run to the final.
“He was winning balls and laying them off. What did he actually do? While James McCarthy came forward and kicked two killer points in the last quarter when the game is there for the taking. Where the great players, the All Stars step up and take that game, where was he? Where did he go in the last 20 minutes?”
“That’s what you judge a great player on.”
O’Shea is a player that has been admired for his ability across the country since breaking into the Mayo team in 2009, but has been criticised for underperformance on the big occasion.
While debate around O’Shea can be polarising, it is unlikely that many will share Brolly’s opinion that Mayo are simply better off without him.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena