Wednesday 29 January 2020

Commentary around O'Shea switch unfair to Rochford

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile newsdesk

I didn't agree with the decision to put Aidan O'Shea at full-back last week, but I'm surprised at some of the commentary it has prompted. Some of it has been just plain insulting to Stephen Rochford and the Mayo management team.

It's worth remembering that any big calls like that are either remembered as inspired moves or moments of madness. There's no grey area. I can look back at a few of them in my own time with Tyrone. Cormac McAnallen was shifted to full-back and it was the making of us. Putting Joe McMahon in the full-back line was a risk but it paid off in spades.

I had a similar experience in the 2005 All-Ireland when Mickey Harte started me and took me off only to bring me back on again. It was a brave move in that it wasn't the done thing and it is remembered as great because we won.

fallout But had it gone pear-shaped, you can imagine the commentary. An All-Ireland final would have been lost and Mickey would have been asked what was he doing playing a player who was so obviously injured when he had quality players on the bench. So there are fine lines in those calls. That should be remembered when talking about the O'Shea switch.

In the fallout, I think it was lost that it was an absolutely brilliant game of football. I think Kerry will be much more clever this time around. They might have been a little arrogant last weekend in thinking their full-back line could cope with Mayo's full-forwards without any cover. They clearly didn't but Eamonn Fitzmaurice will be much smarter tomorrow.

It just feels like Kerry have more room for improvement.



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