Aidan O’Shea handed over the number six shirt for the first time in the Allianz League clash at Tyrone
AIDAN O’SHEA was handed the No.6 shirt for the first time in his senior career at Mayo.
Here are several talking points that emerge from James Horan’s latest team selection, for Saturday night’s All-Ireland final rematch against Tyrone in the Allianz Football League Round 6, but the relocation of O’Shea is arguably the most important.
Whether that happens is anyone’s guess that won’t be answered until the throw-in at Healy Park.
The former captain played in every other central position – he won his three All-Stars at midfield, center forward and center forward – and he even had a famous trick at the back of the Kerry Kieran totem Donaghy in 2017.
Some observers believe the centre-back could yet prove to be O’Shea’s best position in terms of what he can offer Mayo at this stage of his career.
In total, Horan made five changes from the side that narrowly lost to Kerry last Saturday night – their first loss of this Division 1 campaign – but another debate will focus on the matchday’s continued absence from match ’26’ by Cillian O’Connor.
O’Connor has yet to resurface after his Achilles surgery last summer as time is running out for Connacht SFC Mayo’s quarter-final against Galway on April 24.
Ballaghdereen’s David McBrien will make his first league start of the year as a full-back, with Lee Keegan moving into the corner and Padraig O’Hora losing, while Donncha McHugh moves Michael Plunkett into the other corner.
Horan is also revamping his attack, with Fionn McDonagh replacing Jack Carney, Jason Doherty replacing Diarmuid O’Connor and Paul Towey starting at centre-forward. In the resulting reshuffle, O’Shea goes from ’40’ to centre-back and Paddy Durcan (not among the substitutes) loses.
MAYO (NFL vs. Tyrone) – R Hennelly; L Keegan, D McBrien, D McHugh; O Mullin, A O’Shea, S Coen; J. Flynn, M. Ruane; F McDonagh, P Towey, F Boland; A Orme, J Doherty, R O’Donoghue.
Subtitles: R Byrne, B Harrison, P O’Hora, M Plunkett, R Brickenden, E Hession, K McLoughlin, C O’Shea, C Loftus, J Carney, D Coen.