IT was perhaps telling that the only reference injured Mayo midfielder Seamus O'Shea made to Dublin over the course of Monday's media briefing in Croke Park was in referring to working arrangements.
It is in stark contrast to the opposition camp who have continually talked up the opposition throughout the course of this year's campaign. O'Shea who works in a corporate insurance company in Sir Rogerson's Quay was in Croke Park ahead of Sunday's big game with Dublin. Mayo's trips up to the capital have been frequent in the last few years where they have claimed the scalps of both Cork and Down at the quarter final stages in consecutive seasons. This season they reached the league decider only to lose to Cork and certainly there is a determination in the squad to shake off the tag of nearly men. Last year's semi-final defeat to Kerry is one that still rankles with O'Shea. 'We didn't perform and we gave a lot of ball in the second half and they got a run on us. I know we missed a couple of goal chances but from our own point of view we didn't feel as if we performed.'
O'Shea's father hails from Kerry where he played his club football with Killorglin before playing minor and unde- 21 football for The Kingdom in the early eighties There is a strong tradition of football in the family with Conor the latest of the three O'Shea brothers to join the panel. Seamus and Aiden lined out at midfield against Kerry in 2011 but a series of injuroes have forced Seamus to watch from the sidelines this season. 'We had a good understanding and then Barry got in the way, the fecker,' says O'Shea jokingly. The midfield sector is one area where Mayo manager James Horan has experimented with both Danny Geraghty and Aiden O'Shea coming in to to partner Barry Moran in their last two games against Sligo and Down respectively. 'You always want to play. I'm not going to lie to you but that's up to James. All I can do is work hard in training. 'If I'm called upon great, if not the most important thing is we make it to an All-Ireland final.' Mayo go into to Sunday's crucial clash without key forward, Andy Moran, who went over awkwardly on his knee in Mayo's 18-point annihilation of Down in the quarter final.
Nonetheless O'Shea believes Mayo are strong enough to overcome the loss of Moran, a survivor of the 2006 clash when thwy last met Dublin. 'Andy Moran is a big loss, but I don't think it's a motivation that he got hurt. An All Ireland semi-final is there to be won and if that isn't enough motivation to get you going you are in the wrong place. 'He is a big loss but the only thing is we have plenty of notice so we have a good panel there and hopefully lads will be able to come in and do a job.' 'There is a fair amount of turnover. There was eight changes between those who played in the Connacht final this year and last year and people don't seem to realise that'. Mayo had overcome Sligo by a two point margin in the Connacht final and as such caught a lot of people by surprise by the easy manner of their victory against Down, 'You never expect a match to go like that really, but in fairness to Down they never really showed up on the day,' O'Shea added.