Sport GAA

Monday 19 August 2019

Aidan O'Shea must put 'football first' - O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke: 'put football first' plea
Colm O'Rourke: 'put football first' plea
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Former Meath star and pundit Colm O'Rourke believes Aidan O'Shea needs to "put football first" after Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes' revelations about last year's Mayo player revolt.

O'Rourke says the Breaffy clubman must respond to the former management duo's claim that the All-Ireland famine will continue unless egos are kept in check.

"It seems as if he (Aidan O'Shea), in particular, has come out worse out of this," O'Rourke said.

"As if he was the focus of some disenchantment with this particular management group. He has had three or four bad All-Ireland finals when it looked like he would dominate the GAA and it just hasn't happened for him.

"If Aidan O'Shea is serious about being a top player, then he has to put football first.

"It was obviously something that that particular management team found a bit extraordinary that people who were seeking their first All-Ireland seemed to be preoccupied with things outside," added O'Rourke.

"I would find it amazing that a player should be interested in anything other than winning an All-Ireland and that everything else comes after rather than before. It appears that some of them were putting the cart before the horse."

The forthright nature of Connelly and Holmes' interview has been the talk of the GAA world since their words were published in Saturday's Irish Independent, with O'Rourke expressing his surprise at the nature of some of their comments.

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"I thought the two boys were very honest, they really put the knife in and twisted it several times," O'Rourke said.

"Maybe they got a lot off their chests but it was very harsh and very brutal, which you don't often see in the GAA."

Another titbit revealed by the ousted management team was that both Aidan and Seamus O'Shea lobbied Holmes and Connelly for the inclusion of certain players, with the latter asking for goalkeeper Robbie Hennelly to play ahead of David Clarke in 2015 - a selection issue that backfired in this year's All-Ireland final replay with Stephen Rochford managing the team.

O'Rourke believes that players who seek to influence team selection in this way are overstepping the mark.

"The manager has to be the manager and he has to decide who is playing," O'Rourke said.

"I wouldn't have heard very often of players lobbying managers to have someone else be on the team and I think that would be a gross invasion of managerial responsibility."

Irish Independent

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