Interview with Brisbane Roar's Jay O'Shea
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New Brisbane Roar recruit Jay O’Shea will look back on the 2018/1 English League Two season with both enormous pride and sadness.
The Irishman excelled. His 15 goals helped the Shakers clinch promotion to League One. The attacking midfielder twice won the League Two Player of the Month award and was selected for the PFA team of the season. However, financial irregularities led to the Gigg Lane outfit's expulsion from the Football League, leaving several players in limbo.
You can't blame the player for wanting to get as far away from that tragedy as possible. When Brisbane Roar boss Robbie Fowler called, O'Shea took the call. I caught up with the 31-year-old at the Roar's Logan Training HQ earlier in the week.
I was one of the lucky ones. Some players at Bury are still looking to get fixed up. For a great club like that, with a 125-year history, it’s not nice to see at all. Hopefully, the fans will have a team to support soon and start to get back up the leagues.
O’Shea had never visited Australia previously. Once Fowler touched base, he made sure the move was the right one for himself and his young family, seeking advice from fellow countrymen Andy Keogh and, now his new teammate, Roy O’Donovan.
Both Keogh and O’Shea began their youth careers at Dublin's St Joseph Boys. The former enyoyed two spells with Perth Glory before departing for Saudi side Al-Qadsiah. O’Donovan thrived through four years Down Under with Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets before making the switch to Brisbane in June.
Both only had positive things to say about the A-League. Once I'd heard everything I was raring to go.
Pitch quality in Australia also came in for praise from the former Birmingham City man, comparing favourably to some of the more ‘agricultural’ efforts in England’s lower leagues.
The surfaces have been excellent for a player like me, who likes to play and keep it on the deck. It suits me well. There’s definitely a lot more football being played here.
How has he found working with new gaffer Fowler and assistant coach Tony Grant, formerly of Everton?
It’s been great. I’ve worked under a few Scousers now in my career. Paul Cook [Chesterfield], Karl Robinson [MK Dons], Ryan Lowe [Bury] and now Robbie. II think the Scouse and Irish always get on well.
O’Shea was one of more than a dozen new arrivals Fowler's new-look Roar. He believes the long Australian pre-season helped galvanise the new charges.
It’s a long pre-season but it’s helped us lots in terms of getting to know each other. We’ve a good squad here and we’re gelling well.
The Roar's campaign got underway with a battling 1-1 draw away at Perth Glory. O’Shea believes they can take plenty of encouragement from their display.
We were a little slow to get going but once we settled in, we showed what we’re all about. Not many people gave us much chance but to go to the team who won the league last year and get a point, we can take a lot away from that.
The Roar host Melbourne Victory tonight or this morning in the UK. It will be the new man's first home game. O'Shea admits his team must make a good impression with their fanbase.
We want to bring the good times back to the Suncorp. If we can get some positive results, we can get the crowds back.
The Irishman remains optimistic about his new club's prospects.
We want to be in that top six. For me personally, I haven’t come here to just see my career out. ’I’ve a few promotions on my CV already and I want to accomplish things here and be challenging for silverware.