Jay O’Shea


By Pete H

In the first half of our debut Football League season, new additions to our close-knit squad were carefully chosen – and Jay O’Shea was one of ’em. The Irish winger arrived not all that long after another lad we looked at recently – Marvin Williams. Well, 10 days after the ex-Brentford midfielder left as it goes. So, was O’Shea the answer to whatever question gaffer Graham Westley was asking – and that it seems Williams wasn’t? “Yes” and “no” is all you’re getting from us on that one. Now, if you’ll let us down off the fence, we’ll explain why..

Jay O’Shea: Who Is He?

After starting out in his native Dublin with St Joseph’s Boys, O’Shea moved to Home Farm in 2005 – and then onto Bray Wanderers and Galway United respectively. With his form on an upward slope, interest started coming his way from across the Irish Sea. The winning club in the race for his signature was Birmingham City. He didn’t have to wait around for his debut either; on as a sub on the first day of the 2009-10 season against Manchester United.

He also turned out twice for the Blues in the League Cup. But it seemed as if regular first team action wasn’t going to be on the cards at St Andrews straight off the bat. So, March 2010 saw O’Shea move to Middlesbrough on loan – but managed just a couple of games there. That’s it for the 2009-10 season as far as senior football is concerned. Heading into the 2010-1 campaign, however, it was something that Blues boss Alex McLeish wanted to do something about. Even if it meant loaning the winger out again.

Jay O'Shea in action for Boro'
Photo: The Comet

When did he sign and who from?

So, you already have the answer to this question. O’Shea came in on loan in October 2010; initially for one month. It came as McLeish had grown concerned that – despite his efforts – no-one had come in for the player. In fact, his actual words are: “I think he’s a decent young player and it would be great to get him that league experience. Playing in reserve games every now and then is probably not the right thing for a young player with potential.”

Did he play often?

Given what McLeish said about O’Shea playing in reserve games, the player’s first match in Boro’ colours was for… our reserve team. It was a scoring debut too and, a few days after, he made his first League Two appearance for us. He was a familiar face in our line-up during November 2010; featuring in five of our seven matches that month and unused on the subs bench in the other two. It hadn’t been the most ground-breaking impact – but he did enough for us to extend his stay until mid-January.

Boro’ played just one match in December 2010; a 1-0 defeat to Northampton Town indoors in which O’Shea sat out the full 90 on the bench. He did return to the side for our 1-0 defeat at Gillingham on New Year’s Day 2011. That, however, would be his last action in a Boro’ shirt. Again, he watched on from the bench as we completed a second win of the season against Barnet – and that was that. He returned to Brum and, by the end of the month, went back out on loan; this time to fellow League Two side Port Vale.

Where is Jay O’Shea now?

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He didn’t quite set the world alight here at the Lamex – but O’Shea went onto have a decent career in the Football League. Sure, there were bumps along the way; released by the Blues in summer 2011. MK Dons picked him up on a free and he established himself up the road during the 2011-2 League One season. He even scored against us in January 2012, although we had the last laugh by beating the Dons 4-2.

The second season at Stadium:MK didn’t go quite as planned, however, and the player moved to Chesterfield on loan in November 2012. It soon became a permanent thing – and O’Shea started to make himself at home with the Spireites. He helped them to win promotion as 2013-4 League Two champions and enjoyed a good run of form over the years that followed. That even includes the 2016-7 campaign, when Chesterfield were relegated.

Why? Well, O’Shea ended up seeing out the second half of that season with Sheffield United on loan; doing his bit to help the Blades get promotion from League One. After returning to Chesterfield from Bramall Lane, he left the club.

Yet, despite hoping for a deal that’d take him back to the Blades, the lad – now being labelled a “promotion expert” – ended up choosing Bury instead. Injury hit his first few months at Gigg Lane, but it only delayed what turned out to be a good two years with the Shakers. That brings us up to summer 2019. How much Bury’s demise played in his next career move isn’t something that we know for sure. But we do know that his next move was a biggie; swapping Blighty for Brisbane Roar of the Australian A-League.

O'Shea scored twice as Bury hammered us 4-0 in November 2018

JAY O’SHEA7 (0) appearances, 0 goals (2010)