Breaffy’s Aidan O’Shea to swap Gaelic Football for the NFL

Posted in Connect on January 27, 2016.


The towering Mayo All Star is heading stateside next month to try his hand at American football.

However Mayo fans needn’t worry about losing one of our star players, the temporary move is part of the TV documentary ‘The Toughest Trade’  where GAA sports stars swap roles with athletes from professional sports to compare the demands between the amateur code and professional disciplines.

O’Shea jets out to America on February 7, the day after Mayo play All-Ireland champions Dublin in Castlebar in their Division 1 League game. He will be there for a week as part of a swap-deal sponsored by long-time All-Ireland Club Championship backers AIB. O’Shea will not be missing for any of Mayo’s National Football League games.

He still hasn’t gotten his full itinerary yet, so it remains unknown what team he will be training with, the other athletes involved in the documentary – a professional cricketer and American footballer – will be revealed in the coming weeks. O’Shea says he’s a casual fan of the NFL, watching it at the weekends on television, and that basketball is his second sport after Gaelic football.

Whilst he casts an imposing presence on the GAA field he’ll be dwarfed by much bigger men on the Gridiron and he knows that he’s in for some tough times, “Even just the pure technique of what they are doing. I’m going to be small basically, to be honest about it. I expect to be anyway.”

“Looking at some of the weights and my size, I’m 6’4″, some of them could have 20kgs on me which is just insane. I’m just around the 100kg mark.”

“But, yeah, these guys are freaks of nature so we’ll see when I get over there,”

The Breaffy forward is unsure of what position he might fill but he thinks he could make a tight end, like New England Patriots superstar Rob Gronkowski.

Last year’s film featured Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrrell, retired Armagh star Aaron Kernan, former England soccer international David Bentley and baseball great Brian Schneider and now O’Shea is in front of the cameras.

Just recently Tipperary hurler Brendan Maher was in Australia trying his hand at cricket with Big Bash League franchise Adelaide Strikers.

Still only 25, O’Shea is in his eighth season as a Mayo senior, “I’m going there with a totally open mind. I don’t even know what I’m going to be doing. There’ll definitely be something I’ll take out of it.”

The documentary will air ahead of the AIB GAA Club Championship finals on St Patrick’s Day, and will subsequently be available to view on the AIB YouTube channel.

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