Monday 19 August 2019

A quick 18 with Mayo's Aidan O'Shea: 'The furthest I've been is the driving range in the last few weeks'

Crazy summer: Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea in action. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Crazy summer: Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea in action. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

Mayo centre forward Aidan O'Shea has other things on his mind right now other than golf. The Westerners face Donegal in a crunch tie in nine days and with an All-Ireland semi-final spot up for grabs, he's unlikely to be found hammering balls around Castlebar Golf Club for at least another month.

1. No golf at the moment, I'd imagine. No. I'd love to be playing but not the way the Championship has fallen. The last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy. A few of the boys have been out, but the furthest I've got is the driving range. Donegal on Saturday week is all we're thinking about, and it's all boiled down to the match in MacHale Park, which is something to really look forward to.

2. How's your golf? I don't take it too seriously or expect great things from myself. It's just a matter of trying to get out and play a bit because I really enjoy it. Like most people, I found it really frustrating at the start. But I love getting out for a bit of craic with the lads, and if I hit a few good shots, that's good enough for me.

3. How did you get started in the game? A family friend got me into it and Rob Hennelly, who plays football with us, would have been an excellent golfer playing off five or six when he was 15 or 16. He stepped away from football for a few years, and when he came back to football, he dragged me out for a few games.

4. Choose your weapon. Driver or putter? Putter. I can't keep the driver too straight, too often. And I fancy myself as quite a decent putter.

5. Links or parkland? Parkland because I will be able to find my ball a bit more often.

6. When were you happiest on the golf course? It was playing Hog's Head in Waterville. It was an unbelievable course and to get out on that was really cool.

7. Who's your sporting hero? When I was growing up and being from Mayo, Ciaran McDonald was someone I looked up to. And with my Mam and Dad being from Kerry, Mike Frank Russell was a big player in Kerry at the time and from my Dad's local club (Laune Rangers).

8. Name an opponent or rival you especially admire and why. There have been a few, Michael Murphy from Donegal is from my era, and he's a brilliant footballer. I got to play with him for Ireland, and he's always a tough opponent. Brian Fenton from Dublin, he's had a stellar couple of years, and you know you are always going to be in for a tough day.

9. What's your golfing ambition? Do you have one? Between football and work, it's quite difficult. But I'd love to get better and spend more time playing. I really enjoy watching it too. When I finish up this year, I'd love to play a little more.

10. Did you see any of Shane Lowry on Sunday? We did actually. We had a game, and we were out in a hotel afterwards watching it on a big screen. His uncle played for Mayo back in the late 1980s, early 90s. To win your first major is obviously a bit special and he's a big GAA head too, so it was great.

11. Name your dream fourball. I'd have to bring Rob Hennelly, or he'd be upset. Then I'd like Rickie Fowler. My favourite golfer is probably Jon Rahm. I met him last year at the Irish Open.

He's a serious golfer and not too far away from winning his first major but I think I'd throw Shane Lowry in for the craic. Myself and Hennelly can take on Rickie and Shane.

12. I hear you've been practising for the big tour. Well, I've played the Audi quattro Cup for the last few years. It's always a very good event - the biggest amateur event in the world. It's pretty cool. There's one Regional for each Audi garage, and the Irish final was in Mount Juliet last year, which I loved.

I think the World Final is in Kitzbühel in Austria this year, but that looks beyond me, I think.

13. If I gave you a mulligan in your GAA career, what would it be? I've had quite a few. Maybe I'd like to have one of those All Ireland finals back. I remember in 2017 we'd been doing well on the kickouts all day and lost two key kickouts right down the stretch that cost us two scores and allowed Dublin to win the game.

14. If you had just one more game of golf to play, where would you tee it up? It would have to be Adare Manor. Or if we're talking globally, Pebble Beach.

15. What's your favourite hole? The 12th at Augusta National where Francesco Molinari went in the water this year. I love that hole.

I have a friend in the US who plays there every year. Maybe I can tag along sometime.

16. If you could change one thing about yourself as a gaelic footballer, what would it be? I'd like to be smaller and faster (laughs). I might get a few softer frees!

17. What's your most treasured possession? If there was a fire, what would you save first? I'd say my phone. The house is new, so there's not much there to save.

18 What's your idea of perfect happiness. A lap of honour with Sam Maguire? Chilling on a Saturday, brunch with friends and family, and just enjoying that time.



Aidan O'Shea
Handicap: 26
Club: Castlebar GC

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