Monday 5 December 2016

Mayo joint manager Noel Connelly demands protection for big man Aidan O'Shea

Daragh Small

Published 05/08/2015 | 02:30

Aidan O'Shea has been a revelation for Mayo this season
Aidan O'Shea has been a revelation for Mayo this season

Mayo joint manager Noel Connelly has called on referees to protect big imposing forwards like Aidan O'Shea.

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The 25-year old Breaffy clubman has been a revelation in his new role as a target-man this summer.

O'Shea shot 3-4 as Mayo romped to a 26-point Connacht final win over Sligo.

He is likely to come up against Neil McGee, Donegal's man-marker supreme, in Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final clash at Croke Park - which will be refereed by Meath's David Gough.

And Connelly fears his star draw may come in for some unfair attention.

"Aidan is going to be well-marshalled and well-marked," he said. "We have no doubt he is going to be a targeted man and all we have to ask for from officials is that he gets fair play both off the ball and on the ball.

"He is a big guy and attracts a lot of attention - maybe in other games the attention that he gets would warrant a free. But the referees see that because he is a big guy, he can take more of it and let's see what he can take."

O'Shea, an All Star in 2013, has been Mayo's main man this year - he also caused havoc as they beat Galway 1-15 to 2-8 in the Connacht semi-final.

"He has really looked after himself in terms of his diet and training regime," said Connelly.

"He is a really positive lad and works really, really hard at training. He is becoming more of a team player. Aidan hasn't been playing long in that position, only since the league campaign. It takes a while to learn and adjust and he is doing that very, very well."

Meanwhile, John Evans looks set to be re-appointed as Roscommon manager but there are likely to be changes to his backroom team.

Evans, who has guided the Rossies to successive promotions, declined to comment, but it is believed that he has agreed terms, and details will be revealed at a meeting of the county board executive tomorrow night.

His name will then go before a full county board meeting for ratification and he will be appointed for a further season.

However, selectors Basil Mannion and former manager Gay Sheeran are stepping down.

Former Limerick and Laois manager Liam Kearns, who could have an enhanced role, and Wally Burke look set to remain as selector.

Evans has spent three years in charge of Roscommon and oversaw successive promotions from Division 3 to Division 1.

Roscommon won Division 3 and Division 2 titles in the process but they crashed out of this year's championship, undone by a late surge from Fermanagh, after Sligo shocked them in the Connacht semi-final.

Irish Independent

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