GAA

Kieran Donaghy Explains What He Was Thinking While Being Marked By Aidan O'Shea

Kieran Donaghy Explains What He Was Thinking While Being Marked By Aidan O'Shea

One of the great curiosities of this year's football championship started shortly after the throw-in for the drawn All-Ireland semi-final between Kerry and Mayo - it continued into replay too.

Aidan O'Shea trotted into the Mayo fullback line to mark Kieran Donaghy. Liked Lar Corbett marking Tommy Walsh in the 2011 All-Ireland hurling final, it became a sideshow for those in Croke Park, one it was hard to take your eyes off.

In conversation with Tim Moynihan on Radio Kerry's Terrace Talk this week, Donaghy gave some insight into what was going through his mind while being marked by O'Shea.

The Tralee man thought it was a possibility going into the game that he might be marked, at some stage, by the O'Shea. Though, he presumed it would only happen late in the game if Kerry were losing and they started pumping high balls into the full-forward line.

I thought I'd see him if we were losing the game. If we were losing late on and we were trying to put big ball into the edge of the square with five or six minutes to go, like 2014, I guess. I felt I would see Aidan O'Shea in on top of me there.

To see him coming down at the start was a bit strange. I didn't think they'd do it. I tried to do my thing. I tried to play the way I'd been playing all year; out in front, being mobile, being agile, getting around the place, giving the guys options out the field - not just to be lumping ball in.

When O'Shea won the first high ball and it set a fire under the Mayo support, Donaghy knew he had to have more nuance to his game that day.

Advertisement

Certainly, when he won the first high ball that was kicked into us, that was my warning shot. It wasn't a great day weather-wise. He came out with a big ball, the Mayo crowd nearly went through the roof. So I just said to myself after that 'I have to play a different role here'.

The Mayo crowd that day outnumbered the Kerry crowd seven to one. They had huge numbers up there. That ball he won sent a reverberation around Croke Park that day and I just remember saying to myself 'If I stand in under another high ball and he comes out with another one...' It was like a goal celebration, that's how loud the crowd was when that moment happened.

I just said I'd go moving and I knew he would have said to himself going into the game that he would have this preconceived thing of me being under ball and him - he's a horse of a man, 6' 5", big, strong unit - he would have said 'I'll horse away with everything and I'll break away everything and our fellas will pick it up and we'll be grand'.

Donaghy ended up winning the battle that day. Though, Kerry lost the war.

Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

See Also: "Jim Gavin Would Smack Me" - Michael Darragh MacAuley Offers Rare Insight Into Dublin Setup

PJ Browne
Article written by

You may also like