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O'Shea happy to give brother share of limelight

By Declan Bogue

MAN of the match against Donegal in the All-Ireland quarter-final, and RTÉ's choice in the semi-final against Tyrone, Aidan O'Shea is on track for his first All-Ireland, and a nailed-on certainty for an All-Star.

Yet, it could be said the performance of his brother Seamus was even more crucial to the Mayo victory over the Red Hands on Sunday.

It was unlikely that either manager wanted to spoil their stand-out midfielders, so it was left to Seamus to pick up Sean Cavanagh.

All year, Cavanagh has been dragging Tyrone through by his sheer will. A massive part of his weaponry is the scoring tallies he can run up and key to that is the 'Sean Shuffle' when he fakes to drive inside before cutting out and shooting with his right.

"I thought he did an excellent job," said Aidan of his brother, "and I don't think he bought his dummy all day, which was great. As a unit, we talked about it last weekend, to make sure we covered the inside of the dummy if he goes for it and Seamy tracked from the start."

Although Mayo appeared to be in trouble over the first 25 minutes, a period in which they fell behind by four points, O'Shea felt their shortcomings were down to themselves.

"We were making the wrong decision and we were throwing the ball away needlessly," he said. "Probably because they got so many men behind the ball we probably struggled to adjust to it at the very start.

"We were a bit giddy to try and get inside and, just before half-time, we got the tempo up a bit, did a lot more running and it opened up a bit more.

"At half-time we said we needed to get a bit more composure and that worked as well."

The scoring burst from Chris Barrett and Lee Keegan was badly needed, he continued. "(We) probably should have been four behind, realistically. Those few scores before half-time, we were delighted to get them to be honest and to go in at half-time one point down.

"We were having a bad day up until then but we were sticking in. We came out in the second half and the increase in tempo by us was huge."

The way Mayo are handling opponents, they appear to have raised their standards from last year, a view shared by O'Shea when he points to their strength in depth.

"Look at the lads who came off the bench today; Cathal Carolan came on and hit an outrageous point with his right foot, Richie Feeney came on and won breaks, Mickey Conroy came on and ran the backline ragged.

"We are much stronger, I got a toasting in the A v B's game last week from Barry Moran so there's another player that can come in as well. That's the level of competition in the squad."

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