'Everyone's saying it was a disaster but I don't think it was an utter disaster' - David Brady on O'Shea vs Donaghy
For the second year in-a-row, a tactical decision by the Mayo management team has dominated the post-match discourse at the business end of the championship.
Stephen Rochford's decision to drop goalkeeper David Clarke ahead of the All-Ireland final replay defeat to Dublin was roundly criticised last year, and detailing Aidan O'Shea to play at fullback to pick up Kerry's Kieran Donaghy in yesterday's semi-final draw is already being similarly scrutinised.
O'Shea's presence near his own goal discouraged Kerry from pumping in high balls, but Donaghy got on a lot of possession away from the danger zone and proved a very adept facilitator for the Kingdom.
Mayo legend David Brady was one of the few voices advocating an O'Shea vs Donaghy battle ahead of the game, with many other pundits disagreeing with what was then a purely hypothetical match-up.
Speaking to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast, Brady acknowledged that the decision didn't work out perfectly for Mayo, but also doesn't think it was as disastrous as last season's goalkeeper switch.
"The reality is I thought it was an option, and a good option," Brady said.
"Eamonn Fitzmaurice said it himself, he had noted it - I don't know if he was listening to me or if he thought it up himself, that it maybe could be an option.
"It worked to a degree that there was no aerial bombardment, which is a key strength of Donaghy's. On the opposite, the type of ball Kerry played and the way they played it, and I think people are starting to realise that Kieran Donaghy isn't a one-trick pony. He was excellent yesterday.
"Everyone is saying it was a disaster, but I don't think it was an utter disaster."
It was then put to Brady by host Will Slattery that Mayo would have achieved a similar defensive result had Donal Vaughan picked up Donaghy, which would have allowed O'Shea a more prominent role in attack, but the former midfielder thinks that the two-time All Star's presence near his own goal had a knock-on effect on the performances of the other Kerry forwards.
"That is easy to say on a Monday afternoon because we don't know [how Vaughan would have done]," Brady said.
"We do know what happened and it didn't work out well. Did it counteract some of the O'Donoghue/Geaney threat? I thought there was a time and a place for it but I didn't think it was for 70 minutes long."
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