O’Shea says families of players deserve to attend All-Ireland final ‘as much as anybody else’

AIDAN O’SHEA HAS backed calls for the families of players to be allowed attend the All-Ireland finals over the next two weekends.

The Mayo captain believes protocols could be put in place to allow family members into Croke Park given the large swathes of empty seats that will be available.

“The hurling is on this weekend, their families deserve to be in there as much as anybody else,” he said.

“I think, look, it is something that could be done. I mean, could we resource and could we test family members? Get an antigen test done, you are getting your results 20 minutes later or something like that. We have the facility there.

“We have a stadium that could hold 80000 people, I think you could easily account for 500 people either side, and socially distance, and get people tested the morning of the game and everybody is safe and everybody is happy.”

O’Shea says it’s been a strange experience for his family to watch the games on TV rather than follow the team around the country.

“It is a bit funny getting home from the games and hearing the stories about what’s happened in the house. I’d say Dad is trying to watch the game and my mother and partner are getting a bit nervous.

“Usually they’d be at the games, it’s difficult and it’s a bit strange because usually you are heading off in the morning and they’re wishing you well, they’re going to the game and you’ll catch them afterwards.

“Last weekend it was a three hour journey home before getting to see them so it is a bit strange. It’s killing my Dad, because obviously he’d be at every game possible.”

In addition, he feels the GAA’s decision not to allow the Sam Maguire leave Croke Park with the winning teams is “a little bit over the top.”

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O’Shea was surprised after the Connacht final when he discovered he couldn’t bring the Newstor Cup home with him following their victory over Galway.

“Obviously had a bit of experience of it with the Connacht title. The fact that we have to drive to the game by ourselves I was expecting it to be coming back with me afterwards. Unfortunately that’s not the case.

“I wasn’t aware until that moment that those restrictions were in place but, yeah, maybe it’s a little bit over the top. There’s no harm in whatever team wins this weekend or next weekend, I think the moment when you walk back into the dressing room with a cup is something special.

“I think the GAA can afford both teams, this weekend and next weekend, to allow that but, at the same time, I understand the circumstances that Covid-19 placed upon us. So if there’s a justification around why that is the case, fair enough, it’s important to abide by it and follow the restrictions.”

Meanwhile, James Horan says Chris Barrett and Eoghan McLaughlin should be fit to face Dublin after picking up knocks against Tipperary.  

“More so than any other year we have a lot of players that are very close to the starting 15 and 26,” added the Mayo manager.

“You see our 26 has changed pretty much in each game we have a good pool to select from. As we have done all year the next couple of sessions will shape some of that.

“I can’t tell you yet if there will be changes or not but there very possibly could.”

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