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  • "It's Not Hard To Figure Out They're Talking About Aidan O'Shea" - Fallout From Holmes And Connelly Interview Continues

"It's Not Hard To Figure Out They're Talking About Aidan O'Shea" - Fallout From Holmes And Connelly Interview Continues

"It's Not Hard To Figure Out They're Talking About Aidan O'Shea" - Fallout From Holmes And Connelly Interview Continues
By Conor Neville Updated

Save for the odd outburst from a convention floor, December is usually quiet time in the GAA news. Therefore, it was with some delight that neutrals hungrily devoured Martin Breheny's blockbuster of an interview with Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly in Saturday's Irish Independent.

The pair asserted at the outset that the interview was in the interests of Mayo football. It was vital that players' "egos be checked and outside influences curbed" or else Mayo wouldn't win an All-Ireland.

Two days on, there are those who loudly dispute whether the interview was in the interests of Mayo football. The consensus among Mayo's energetic online community would appear to be that this interview is a wholly bad thing.

But then Twitter is an unrepresentative constituency. Certainly, Pat Holmes' comments in the interview hinted that he doesn't have much time for the medium. At least, he doesn't much time for players who he deems excessively preoccupied with the medium.

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In time, memories of the trips abroad and all other perks will fade and it won't matter how many Twitter followers you had during your playing days. The only question that counts for players on top teams is: have you All-Ireland medals?

A quick perusal of the twitter accounts of the Mayo senior footballers reveals that Andy Moran boasts just over 5,000 followers, Rob Hennelly has north of 8,000 followers, Lee Keegan has a highly respectable 10.3k followers, while Alan Dillon is doing very well with 12.5k followers. All the more impressive considering that he's only sent 764 tweets.

But dwarfing them all, way out in front, is Aidan O'Shea  with 40.3k followers.

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Writing in the Star this morning, Donegal's Eamon McGee, himself no slouch in the twitter follower department, said its easy to work out that the managers are zoning in on Aidan O'Shea.

There's a little jibe at a player having a lot of Twitter followers but no All-Ireland medal. And it's not hard to figure out that the cut is at Aidan O'Shea. So what? What has that got to do with football? It doesn't stop anyone from trying to win an All-Ireland, believe me.

O'Shea is singled out a couple of times in the Holmes/Connelly interview. Holmes took umbrage at the Toughest Trade producers' decision to seek out Aido for their first season. They wanted O'Shea to go to Sunderland but Holmes killed the idea. O'Shea apparently complained about this and participated in the programme in 2016 with the blessing of his new manager Stephen Rochford.

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McGee reckons that these revelations are helping build up a negative portrayal of O'Shea as someone preoccupied with his media profile.

"This, to me, is building up the picture that O'Shea is just interested in profile and media gigs and so on," wrote McGee, before pointing out that Brendan Maher also participated in the Toughest Trade this year and he's just captained Tipperary to an All-Ireland title.

Then there is the matter of O'Shea's email to the management a week before the 2015 All-Ireland quarter-final against Donegal. He wrote that he and other players were surprised that a certain player hadn't been included on the 26-man panel.

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Speaking of the 2015 quarter-final against Donegal, Kieran Cunningham made this worthwhile point.

In McGee's view, the most damaging segment of the interview concerns the older O'Shea on the Mayo team. Especially so, in light of what happened in this year's All-Ireland final replay.

There is one passage that is really below the belt. It's mentioned that Seamus O'Shea felt Hennelly should start in goals in 2015 as he found his kickouts better. The reader is left to wonder if O'Shea made a similar proposal before this year's All-Ireland final replay, when Hennelly replaced Clarke. Putting that into the public domain is indefenible from Holmes and Connelly.

The question remains. Why did Holmes and Connelly choose to do the interview now, having kept quiet for fourteen months? Before now, their only public comment was their widely praised resignation statement.

It's possible that Tom Cunniffe's comments to the Indo a couple of weeks ago may have emboldened the pair. Cunniffe, who played under Holmes for Castlebar Mitchels when they reached the All-Ireland club final in 2013-14, revealed that he voted against the pair in that squad meeting in September 2015. But he now says he regrets doing so.

We treated them badly. They should never have had to resign. They deserved a lot better...  I would never do anything to upset things but I just want to be fair to Pat and Noel. They went through a lot in the last year and they shouldn't have had to.

The Holmes/Connelly interview followed hot on the heels of Cunniffe breaking cover from New York.

Read more: Eight Things We Learned From The Explosive Pat Holmes And Noel Connelly Indo Interview

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