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'He Seems To Be The Man They Mark In Mayo For Our Trials And Tribulations'

3 April 2022; Mayo players, Aidan O'Shea with his daughter Caragh and Pádraig O'Hora with his daughter Mila-Rae after the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final match between Kerry and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
By PJ Browne Updated
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Pádraig O'Hora recalls watching Aidan O'Shea playing for Mayo when he was younger. O'Shea, who made his inter-county in 2009, is a couple of years older than his teammate.

"He was outrageous when I was younger too," said O'Hora, speaking at SuperValu’s launch of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.

O'Hora is now in his fourth season on the Mayo panel. In that time, this year's form - aided by O'Shea being stationed regularly in the full-forward line - is the best he's seen from the Breaffy man.

"I think he’s found form again, I’m delighted for him," said O'Hora.

"In fairness, he’s taken some heavy blows over the years. He’s been put down and blamed for a lot of things, he seems to just be the man that they mark in Mayo for some of our trials and tribulations.

"He’s had challenges but he’s going strong, it’s good to see it. He’s part of a very, very strong team."

Pictured is Mayo footballer and autism advocate Pádraig O’Hora at SuperValu’s launch of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Sponsors of the Championship for a 14th consecutive season, SuperValu were joined by Gaelic Games role models and advocates from across the country in Croke Park to highlight the role of GAA communities in making Ireland a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming country for all. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

O'Hora has regularly marked O'Shea in training and knows how hard it can be to dispossess him.

"It doesn’t matter where you put him, he’s a hard man to get a ball off," said O'Hora


"I spent long enough trying to take it off him, essentially if he gets it, that’s it, you’re not getting it back. It’s his sheer size, it’s like trying to wrestle with a bear, there’s only going to be one winner.


"He’s got a good skillset. Like myself he’s played a lot of basketball so his hands are good, he’s not just a big unit. He’s quite skilled and he’s a smart footballer as well. All of those things culminate in the fact that he’s just huge too.

"I think he’s dangerous in there and he asks different questions I suppose, and we haven’t had that in years gone by, not in my time playing anyway, we haven’t had a target man of that size and stature."


9 April 2023; Aidan O'Shea of Mayo with Roscommon players, from left, Conor Carroll, Conor Hussey, Conor Daly, David Murray and Niall Daly during the Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Mayo and Roscommon at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park in Castlebar, Mayo. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

O'Hora assumes the criticism which O'Shea has received down the years has been tough on him.


"We’ve all had our ups and downs when people are on your back or you’ve been under a little bit of pressure, I certainly have had a little bit of it and it’s not nice," said O'Hora.

"I don’t know how Aidan has dealt with that, but he has been subject to a fair bit of it. But it hasn’t knocked him, he’s still there. For all that’s been said about him he’s still there, he’s stuck it out.

"Anyone worth their salt, anyone with a bit of cop on, wouldn’t slate players. They’d understand the commitment. It’s voluntary, you’re not getting paid to be here. It’s dedication, it takes a huge amount of your time.


6 December 2020; Aidan O'Shea, right, passes to Pádraig O'Hora of Mayo during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Mayo and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

"If you’d ask most footballers at elite level who want to win something, we’re putting more time and energy into this than we are our full-time jobs.


"Anyone that has a family, the family suffers because you’re away and you’re focussed on football. There’s not a minute of the day that goes by that isn’t focussed around football.

"Regardless if whether you go out and have a great performance or do poorly, that’s just the nature of it. At the end of the day you should respect every player from every county that gives their heart and soul for the jersey.

"Anybody that’s throwing abuse around online, I’ve just no time for it."

See Also: Jim McGuinness Feels Mayo Made One Fatal Error In Roscommon Loss

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