Sunday 24 September 2017

'Aidan was the aggressor... I reacted to the dark arts and got sent off' - Donaghy opens up on battle with O'Shea

Kieran Donaghy connects with the head of Aidan O’Shea in an incident which saw the Kerryman sent off. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO
Kieran Donaghy connects with the head of Aidan O’Shea in an incident which saw the Kerryman sent off. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO

Harry Clarke

Kerry's Kieran Donaghy says Aidan O'Shea was the aggressor in their titanic All Ireland semi final clash and has opened up on the "real physical battle" with the Mayo man.

Mayo boss Stephen Rochford made the controversial decision to deploy O'Shea as a full back to try and nullify the threat of Donaghy in the All Ireland semi final draw with the Kingdom.

Donaghy thrived and had a hand in 2-4 of the Kerry total that day with O'Shea reverting to a more advanced role for the replay. That didn't stop Donaghy and O'Shea coming face to face with Donaghy sent off for striking out at the Breafy man as Mayo booked an All Ireland final date with Dublin.

In an in-depth column for AIB, Donaghy has opened up on the duo's much talked about clash.

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A general view of the pre-match parade ahead of the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

"Myself and Aidan O’Shea may have been seen smiling away to one another, but the reality was far from that," wrote Donaghy.

"We were in each other’s faces throughout both games, real physical stuff and when one of us won a ball, we weren’t long in letting the other man know about it. Very little of what was said could be printed here but, if you’d recorded it, I’d say RTE or even Sky would pay a nice few bob to get a half-hour long show out of it."

Donaghy goes on to explain why Mayo are "masters of the dark arts" and admitted it was hard to get into his rhythm in the replay with numerous Mayo men marking him.

It wasn’t always O’Shea on me, it was changing every few minutes – Donie Vaughan, Seamie O’Shea, even Brendan Harrison for a short while – and it can be hard to get into the game and get a feel for how to play your man when that’s happening.

"In my book, I had a chapter on how you can't be the reactor in sport, you must be the aggressor. Aidan was the aggressor, and fair play to him, Mayo will need that in spades Sunday. I reacted to the dark arts and ended up getting sent off and losing the game. Other than that, it was as enjoyable a season as I’ve had in over 13 years playing with Kerry."

There has been much speculation regarding Donaghy's future but he has revealed that he has yet to come to a decision on whether or not he will wear the famous green and gold again.

"I haven’t had a chance to think about playing for Kerry next season because I haven’t had a moment’s rest since the inter-county season ended for us. It’s been right back at it with Stacks and basketball, not to mention that baby number two is on the way. So I’ll come to that decision another day."

You can read the full article here.

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