James "Jay" O'Shea (born 10 August 1988) is an Irish professional footballer who plays for League One club Chesterfield. He is primarily an attacking midfielder, but can also operate as a winger and striker.
O'Shea began his career with St Joseph's Boys AFC before moving on to play for Home Farm of the Leinster Senior League in 2005. He signed for Bray Wanderers after just two appearances for Home Farm, and spent a year-and-a-half with Bray. In 2008, O'Shea signed for Galway United, playing 60 games for the club in all competitions, and attracted a lot of interest from Football League and Premier League teams.
He subsequently joined Birmingham City in August 2009 for an undisclosed fee, and made his Premier League debut shortly after against Manchester United. However, he found first-team opportunities hard to come by during his first season at Birmingham, and was loaned out to Middlesbrough in March 2010. O'Shea was loaned out again in October 2010, this time to League Two side Stevenage where he spent two months, and then to Port Vale in January 2011. He was released when his contract expired at the end of the 2010–11 season, and joined Milton Keynes Dons. He joined Chesterfield on loan in November 2012, and joined the club permanently two months later. He played for Chesterfield in the 2014 final of the Football League Trophy, before helping them to win the League Two title in 2013–14.
Bray and Galway
O'Shea began his career at St Joseph's Boys, a youth team located in south County Dublin that caters for players from the age of six up to eighteen years old. Shortly after leaving St Joseph's, he signed for Home Farm of the Leinster Senior League in 2005, before joining Bray Wanderers a year later. O'Shea made his Bray debut in the club's 2–0 home defeat to Longford Town in September 2006 at the age of eighteen, coming on as a substitute in the second-half, and started his first match in a 6–0 loss to Cork City. He scored his first professional goal in a 3–0 win over Shamrock Rovers in October 2007, before signing for League of Ireland Premier Division side Galway United in December 2007. O'Shea scored his first goal for Galway in a 2–2 home draw with Finn Harps in May 2008, and finished as Galway's top scorer during the 2008 season, scoring ten goals in all competitions.
In November 2008 it was rumoured that a £400,000 deal had been agreed between Galway and English Championship side Derby County, with the player expected to move when the transfer window reopened in January 2009. O'Shea went on trial with the club in November 2008 and scored twice in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Notts County in a match which an experienced Derby side won 5–2. However, when Derby manager Paul Jewell resigned the move was put on hold and then cancelled. Carlisle United manager Greg Abbott said the club also came "within minutes" of signing O'Shea ahead of the 2009–10 season, but lost out after trying to sign the player for three months. In January 2009, O'Shea spent two weeks on trial with Birmingham City, but returned to Galway ahead of the club's league campaign. The 2009 season witnessed O'Shea score six goals in 23 appearances for Galway, as well as captaining the team throughout the campaign. His final game for the club was a 2–1 win over his former employers, Bray Wanderers, a game in which he scored the winner in injury-time. In his last two games for Galway, O'Shea was watched by scouts from Portsmouth, Derby County, Birmingham City, Middlesbrough, Watford, and Falkirk respectively.
On 10 August 2009, O'Shea signed a two-year contract, with the option of a further two years, with Birmingham City of the Premier League. The fee was undisclosed. He made his debut for the club as a second-half substitute in Birmingham's opening match of the season, a 1–0 defeat at Manchester United. He started his first game for Birmingham nine days later, playing 45 minutes in the club's 2–1 League Cup win over Southampton. He also featured in the following round, this time playing 63 minutes in Birmingham's 2–0 away loss at Sunderland before being replaced by Lee Bowyer. It was to be O'Shea's last appearance of the season for Birmingham. In March 2010, O'Shea joined Middlesbrough on loan for a month. He made his debut – both for the club and in the Football League – as a second-half substitute in a 1–1 draw at home to Crystal Palace on 3 April. He started the next game, away at Plymouth Argyle, but made no more first-team appearances.
Early in the 2010–11 season, Birmingham manager Alex McLeish attempted to find a Football League club for O'Shea to join on loan so that he could play regular football. In October, he had a trial with Scunthorpe United, during which he played for the club's reserve team in a game against Lincoln City reserves which ended 1–1. Scunthorpe manager Ian Baraclough said he "wanted to take a further look at O'Shea" ahead of a reserve game against Leeds United, but he did not feature in the match. Towards the end of October, McLeish expressed surprise and concern that no club had taken the player on loan: "I'm surprised nobody has come for him because 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." On 26 October, O'Shea joined League Two club Stevenage on a one-month loan deal. He was assigned the number 22 shirt. Having scored in a reserve match against Ipswich Town the day after signing, O'Shea started in Stevenage's 0–0 home draw with Chesterfield on 30 October. After six appearances, four in the League and two in the FA Cup, O'Shea's loan was extended until 16 January 2011.
He returned to Birmingham at the end of his loan spell, and a few days later went out on loan again, this time to League Two club Port Vale for a one-month spell. He scored his first goal in English football at Vale Park, with a well taken strike against Rotherham United on 1 February. He made a total of five starts during his loan spell, before returning to Birmingham. Later in the season Vale's caretaker-manager Mark Grew attempted to re-sign O'Shea, but the deal was reported to have fallen through because of the player's wages. After Birmingham's relegation from the Premier League, O'Shea was one of several players released when their contracts expired at the end of the season.
Milton Keynes Dons
In July 2011, O'Shea spent some weeks on trial at League One club Milton Keynes Dons, before impressing manager Karl Robinson enough to win a one-year contract with an option for a second year. He scored his first goal at Stadium mk on 20 August, converting a late penalty to make it a 6–2 victory over Chesterfield. His second goal for the club came in a 6–0 beating of non-league Nantwich Town in the FA Cup. He opened the scoring on 24 January 2012 for his third goal of the season, though home side Stevenage then came from behind to beat the Dons 4–2.
In November 2012, O'Shea joined League Two club Chesterfield on loan until 5 January 2013. He scored on his debut, in a 2–0 win over former club Port Vale at Vale Park. After his loan spell was expired, he left MK Dons by mutual consent and signed an 18-month contract with Chesterfield. He scored five goals in 19 games in the remainder of the 2012–13 season.
On 30 March 2014, he played at Wembley Stadium in Chesterfield's 3–1 defeat to Peterborough United in the final of the Football League Trophy. He scored a total of nine goals in 47 games as the "Spireites" won promotion as divisional champions in 2013–14 and dedicated the title success to his recently deceased friend, David Spain.
He scored seven goals in League One 41 games in the 2014–15 campaign to help Chesterfield to reach the play-off places, where they were beaten by Preston North End at the semi-final stage. He scored nine goals in 51 appearances in the 2015–16 season.
O'Shea has represented the Republic of Ireland at under-19, under-21, and under-23 levels. He scored on his U21 debut on 28 March 2009, scoring the first goal in a 2–1 win over Spain U21. He made his one and only appearance for the under-23s on 21 October 2008, in a 2–1 loss to Belgium under-23s at Dalymount Park.
- As of match played 27 September 2016
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Bray Wanderers||2006||League of Ireland Premier||9||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||9||0|
|2007||League of Ireland Premier||26||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||27||2|
|Galway United||2008||League of Ireland Premier||29||7||4||2||4||1||0||0||37||10|
|2009||League of Ireland Premier||19||4||1||1||3||1||0||0||23||6|
|Birmingham City||2009–10||Premier League||1||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||3||0|
|Stevenage (loan)||2010–11||League Two||5||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||7||0|
|Port Vale (loan)||2010–11||League Two||5||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||1|
|Milton Keynes Dons||2011–12||League One||28||5||2||1||2||0||3||0||35||6|
|Chesterfield (loan)||2012–13||League Two||7||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||7||2|
- with Chesterfield
- Football League Trophy runner-up: 2014
- Football League Two champion: 2013–14