Mayo star Aidan O’Shea on hate messages: ‘When things come into your family home, that’s just outrageous’

Speaking on the BBC programme GAA Social In a podcast, the Breaffy man also revealed he has received hate messages over the years, particularly in the wake of the row that saw Holmes and Connelly leave their posts in acrimonious circumstances.

“I haven’t read them all, I just haven’t read them. Maybe I will read them in the future,” he told Thomas Niblock and Oisín McConville.

“I’m sure my mom has them cut out and on her naughty list. There was a whole week of stuff, but it’s not really about what those people were saying, it’s more about what it’s suddenly okay for other people to say.

“Basically, when things come through your letterbox at home, to your family home, that is just outrageous in my opinion.

“Handwritten letters, typed letters, personal things about you, what you should do. It’s pretty delicate stuff, that stuff is very difficult. And I know Dad has reached out to higher powers to see if we could do something about it.

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“It’s very difficult to track this kind of stuff and that can be quite tricky. Things with no name, or (the) same person probably with different names. So that’s very difficult to the point where my mom would have intercepted it at home and when I moved to my house in the city, my fiancé intercepted it.

“It hasn’t happened recently, but she would intercept it because you could tell by the handwriting, there was some witty comment on the outside of the letter. They would hide it and take it away from me.”

In a wide-ranging interview, O’Shea says he has accepted that he is “not everyone’s cup of tea” and that it is difficult to change perceptions.

“It’s one of those things I’ve gotten pretty used to,” O’Shea says. “There are a couple of things that I have to do and I don’t have an overarching reason for it. In some ways, I don’t want to please everyone. If I did, there would be something wrong.

“You wouldn’t be authentic if you were loved by everyone. That’s the first thing and the second thing is that obviously I’ve been playing for Mayo for a while and we haven’t quite got there and with that comes criticism.”

“And being a player who has been at the forefront in those moments, when you don’t win, those criticisms are going to come to you and you have to accept them too. That’s normal.

“Yeah, we’ve been close and all that good stuff, but as a player who’s been around, and there are a few of us in that group, you have to face that criticism.

“There are probably other details. I think we probably won’t go into details, but 2015 was a difficult year in terms of the things that happened and the consequences of that probably tarnished my name a little bit.

“It created a narrative about who I am as a person that was false, and it can be difficult to respond to that in a space where you’re just sitting at home and there’s media that other people can use.

O’Shea says he is now better prepared to deal with outside criticism.

“Look, again there was criticism about it, but I felt like some of it was, well, I know some of it was, directed at me and falsely, and that would be the difficult part.

“That probably changed people’s narrative, and beyond that, I’m probably a very private person. As much as people might think, I’m quite an introvert, and when I’m not as available to people as people would like, then that narrative can stick.

“I’ve learned to cope with it and it hasn’t deterred me from what I want to do and play football for my club or for Mayo. It’s probably affected my relationships and who I am as a person but I think I’m in a better position now in the last few years having moved on from it.”

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