GAA Football

Aidan O'Shea knows from experience the damage of a bad start

Ireland captain Aidan O’Shea and Australia skipper Shaun Burgoyne at Domain Stadium in Perth yesterday Picture by INPHO
From Cahair O'Kane in Perth

THE last time Ireland were in Perth, they found themselves 41-8 down early in the third quarter.

Darren Hughes’ goal sparked a revival that brought them right back to within 10 points at the end, with only a crucial interception by long-serving goalkeeper Dustin Fletcher in the final minute preventing Ireland setting up a grandstand finish.

The Aussies came out the traps and caught a flat Irish side off guard, and Aidan O’Shea – who played that night – is well aware that the same thing can’t happen again.

“Three years ago here, we got completely outplayed for the first two quarters. If we do that tomorrow the cup will definitely be staying in Australia.

“We’ve got to start well but as Joe has just mentioned we can’t afford to give them easy opportunities as we did last week. They played really well in front of goal so we need to make sure we match them everywhere.”

O’Shea, who said that Ireland had players “in bed 90 minutes before the game” last weekend, says that they are likely to alter their attacking approach.

“We’ve drafted a few boys in as well so as player group we’re quite happy and a lot more content going into this weekend.

“The way they set up defensively caused us a bit of problem, Brendon Goddard coming out and playing more like a defender than a goalkeeper.

“We probably tried to the kick the ball too long at times. Kicked into areas where we were outnumbered. We didn’t mark the ball.

“We’ll try and play through the lines, try and get marks higher up the field so we can get bodies up with Conor McManus and Michael Murphy.

“They were excellent but we need to get more bodies on the scoresheet. In terms of that we need to be a bit more patient at times, Use the hand ball a bit more often.

“Defensively, they came at us in droves so we probably need to man up from coming back out of defence, they are gung-ho at times and willing to take chances. We need to be able to go with them.”

While the Aussies spent the lead-in to the first game promising a physicality that was never really delivered, Mayo man O’Shea feels that with the series on the line, this morning’s game has the potential to be that bit more fiery.

“Last week was highly competitive and enjoyable. There’s a lot more on the line, the last test and both teams going for it.

“We’ve a deficit to make up. They need to stay on top in terms of aggregate so I’m sure it will highly competitive.”

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