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O'Shea eager to make it brothers in arms for Mayo

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Seamus O'Shea

Seamus O'Shea

Seamus O'Shea

SEAMUS O'Shea believes he could still do a job for Mayo if called upon against Dublin next Sunday, despite missing most of the season with an unfortunate series of injuries.

Last summer, he and younger brother Aidan were Mayo's first-choice midfield pairing right up to their All-Ireland semi-final loss to Kerry -- but he has been markedly absent for most of this season with a series of separate injuries to his hamstrings, quad muscle and groin.

"I was in the same position last year, I missed the entire National League with a broken ankle and came back the Saturday of the (start of the Connacht) championship and I felt fine," he said. "It has been very stop-start all right but I'm back training properly since just before the Down game.

"That's all behind me now, thankfully, and of course I want to play next Sunday, you'd be lying if you said otherwise. We all want to start and, if we don't, we want to be coming on.

"But that's up to James (Horan, the manager). All I can do is work hard in training and if I'm called upon and needed, then great, but the most important thing is that Mayo make an All-Ireland final."

Begrudge

O'Shea's chances of breaking back into the team look slim given his brother Aidan's successful return from his own three-month groin injury and the excellent form of Barry Moran this year, whom he certainly doesn't begrudge.

"Yeah, Barry got in the way," he quipped about his hopes of renewing his partnership with his brother. "I grew up playing football with Barry, we played minor (2004) and U-21 together and he's had an awful hard run with injuries too.

"But he's back and been playing very well, got a few Man of the Match awards in the championship and was very good again against Down the last day. They're going well around the midfield and hopefully that'll continue again on Sunday."

Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin has inevitably rekindled memories of their meeting at the same stage in 2006, which featured a particularly explosive preamble when Dublin took umbrage that Mayo had come out and warmed up in front of Hill 16 ahead of them.

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"I was sitting in the Hogan Stand, just down beside the fight," said O'Shea, who works in corporate insurance in Dublin and travels home midweek for training with a gang that also includes Ger Cafferkey, Kenneth O'Malley and Chris Barrett.

"There was a great atmosphere. Coming back from six or seven down made that a great win for Mayo football. Obviously, things didn't work out afterwards but it was a great day."

He stresses that the manager keeps an open mind about selection and tends to pick players on form.

"I think there were eight changes from the team that won the Connacht final last year, people probably don't realise there's that much turnover," said O'Shea, pointing to the return to the panel this year of players such as Colm Boyle and Michael Conroy and the excellent form of Lee Keegan.

O'Shea's youngest brother Conor (19) -- who captained the county minors last year -- also got the senior call-up this summer, which makes Sunday a particularly big day for the family whose parents hail from Killorglin.

Mayo's chances of a repeat have already been written off in some quarters due to the loss of their best forward and inspirational captain Andy Moran but O'Shea is insistent that others will be able to pick up the slack.

"An All-Ireland semi-final is there to be won regardless," he said. "If that's not enough motivation to get you going then you're in the wrong place.

"Yeah, Andy is a big loss for us but we've had plenty of notice of it, we've had a month to prepare and we've a good panel, so hopefully fellas will be able to come in and do a job. We're all sickened for him but we just have to crack on with it."


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