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'If a kid wants a picture, I'll do what I asked when I was 10': O'Shea responds to selfie storm

Mayo star “switched off” after Bernard Flynn’s criticism.

Aidan O'Shea signs autographs O'Shea signs autographs after Mayo's win in Ennis last weekend. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

AIDAN O’SHEA HAS broken his silence on the selfie controversy that blew up earlier this summer, and said that he will always oblige his young fans where he can.

O’Shea was dragged into the headlines when RTÉ pundit Bernard Flynn criticised him for signing autographs and taking photos while his Mayo team-mates warmed down after a challenge game in Meath.

“I think it’s an important part of what the GAA is about, it’s an important part of what we’re all about as a community, and I think sometimes that gets lost,” O’Shea told Newstalk’s Off The Ball in an interview broadcast on Tuesday evening.

For me, I’m a Breaffy footballer first of all, and a Mayo footballer second of all. Whether it be a club game in the top end of Mayo, or an inter-county football game, or if I’m walking up the street, if some kid or somebody else wants a picture, then I’ll do what I asked when I was 10 or 11 years of age, and I’ll definitely be obliging where I can, and I’ll always try and do that.

“From that point of view, it’s disappointing. I think that gets lost. It’s not just me. GAA players around the country, in Mayo and in other counties, give freely of their time and do a great job of promoting the game with young kids.”

Aidan O'Shea with Eoghan Collins O'Shea bursts past Eoghan Collins. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

After battling injury in the early part of the season, O’Shea was man of the match in Mayo’s qualifier win against Clare last weekend, and he insists that the media storm didn’t affect him.

“It’s impossible to switch off totally. To be honest with you, a lot of the boys just pull the piss out of it and make a joke out of it.

“It is what it is. I did my best to switch off from it, and to be honest with you, probably would have stayed off social media for a prolonged period of time. I got to the stage where I didn’t even know what other games were on television from a sport point of view. Usually I’m well clued into things but I completely zoned out.

With my injury taking up a huge amount of my time, trying to get back, that was totally my focus.

“You can’t control things that are going on like that, you simply can’t, so there’s no point trying to lose too much sleep over it and trying to fight it. It is what it is.

“The boys thought it was a bit of a joke and had a good laugh.”

Listen to Aidan O’Shea’s Newstalk interview in full here >

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Niall Kelly

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