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The next big O’Shea hoping to impress new Mayo boss (as his first opponent)

22-year-old Conor aims to make 2016 they year when he joins Aidan and Seamie and vital cogs in the Mayo machine.

The youngest O'Shea in action against Roscommon last summer.
The youngest O'Shea in action against Roscommon last summer.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONOR O’SHEA IS hoping to become as big a cog as his older brothers for Mayo in 2016 and the Breaffy man gets a perfect opportunity to impress new manager Stephen Rochford next Sunday — when he lines out against them.

The 22-year is due to play for NUIG against Mayo in the FBD League on Sunday in Castlebar as Corofin’s All-Ireland winning manager Rochford takes charge of his native county for the first time.

O’Shea, younger brother of Aidan and Seamie, is the star of NUIG’s Sigerson Cup side and will hope to make a big impression on Sunday.

It is his third year as part of the college team but after a frustrating season where he failed to make an impression for his county, O’Shea is pushing for a starting spot in 2016.

The youngest of the three O’Shea’s made his championship debut for Mayo against Roscommon in 2014, but had to watch on as Mayo fell to successive defeats in All-Ireland semi-finals against Kerry and Dublin.

The reigning five-time Connacht champions have not won the Sam Maguire since 1951, and following defeats in the 2011 and 2012 deciders their attacking prowess was questioned.

Tweaking

However the younger O’Shea says there is quality up front and the influence of new manager Rochford will be an added boost this season.

“We have plenty of good forwards at the moment. We have the likes of Cillian O’Connor, Aidan O’Shea and Kevin McLoughlin. They are all very talented, it will just be a case of tweaking a few things.

“I don’t think we need one big massive forward. We could do with one, but I don’t think it’s just one thing or the other. It’s just a few little tweaks or bits and pieces and hopefully the new management can bring that.

“We are all looking forward to the new season. We are glad the last couple of months are behind us now and we just want to get back into it.

It’s a good backroom team with Tony McEntee, Maurice Horan and Donie Buckley back, and Barry Solan and Pat Carey from Foxford. Hopefully it will bring a bit of freshness.

“Stephen Rochford was very successful with Corofin, and it bodes well for the 2016 season ahead,” he said.

But for now O’Shea is solely focused on downing Mayo in the FBD League. And then on to the Sigerson Cup where NUIG may be the second most successful team in the competition but have not won the title since 2003.

“It is my fourth year in NUIG and my third year as part of the Sigerson team.

“We are really looking forward to it, the FBD League is a really big preparation for the Sigerson because the quality of opposition would be much stronger than what we would have played in Division 2 of the league.

“We just can’t wait to get out and play now, and it’s great we have Mayo on January 3. And then we will take it from there.”

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Daragh Small

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