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'I Was Playing Full Forward - And I Was Shit As Well. Oh Yeah, That Makes Sense'

'I Was Playing Full Forward - And I Was Shit As Well. Oh Yeah, That Makes Sense'
By PJ Browne Updated

Last month, GAA congress approved the introduction of 'the mark'. GAA players in unison bemoaned the lack of a trial.

The thing is, it was trialed. It was just a forgettable effort: the 2010 National League.

Aidan O'Shea played for Mayo in that league campaign. His initial memory is vague but then he recalls, it was ineffectual competition for him in terms of form.

Was it trialed in 2010? Because I don't think I played when the mark was in.

I was playing full forward - and I was shit as well. Oh yeah, that makes sense. That's why I don't want to remember that league.

Immediately following word from congress regarding the controversial vote, Aidan O'Shea was on Twitter, voicing his opposition.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's airing of episode two of this year's 'The Toughest Trade', in which O'Shea tries his hand at American football, the Mayo man further elaborated on his resistance to the mark.

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It might not achieve what they want - I don't think it will. I think it'll actually take bigger players out of the game. I think there will be less bigger players on the pitch because Stephen Cluxton will kick the ball short and if he wants to get a mark he will kick the ball to a speedy wing forward - a standard size of 6' 1" max who's able to run into space and catch the ball.

Jarlath Burns is saying we're hoping to go out and catch the ball seven foot into the air - I don't think that's going to happen.

I don't see why there's a need for changing the rules. I think the way it was brought in was wrong as well.

It's a big change to a game which I'm confident is in a good place. We like to change things for the sake of changing things - just play the game and stop giving out about it.

It was put to O'Shea that it's a real 'GAA thing' to introduce such a rule without considerable thought regarding the wider effect it will have on the game.

O'Shea disagreed. He feels it's not a GAA thing - it's a football thing and that such rule changes do not happen in the association's other code - hurling.

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It's a real gaelic football thing. When's the last time they changed a rule in hurling?

If somebody said 'Jeez, let's make the sliotar heavier because they're scoring from 80 yards,' people would scream, hurlers would go mental.

One of the reasons oft cited as to why the mark could be a success is its use in international rules - where it does appear to enhance the game.

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This is a flawed argument according to O'Shea. Philosophies differ between Aussie Rules players and gaelic footballers. The Australians believe - no matter the opposition - that they can compete with anyone in the air, GAA players feel the need to spoil.

The difference in the international rules game, I know in our game we like to spoil a lot more, whereas in the international rules game I found, the Aussies - through arrogance or not - they think they're going to out-catch you.

So they're not going to try and spoil me, they're going to go up and try to catch the ball with me. Whereas if I'm playing a game tomorrow, the fella marking me is just going to say 'I'm going to spoil the shit out of him and not let him catch it.' The mentality thing is a bit different between the two games.

Episode two of The Toughest Trade featuring Aidan O'Shea and Roberto Wallace will air on RTÉ Two on Tuesday, March 15th at 9.55pm.

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Read: 'The Likes Of Sheehan, Murphy, Cillian O'Connor, Cluxton...' - Aidan O'Shea On His Time In American Football

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