Cillian O’Connor is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Photo: GAA (Stephen Marken/Sportsfile)

Once a nailed-on first fifteen man for us, Cillian O’Connor yesterday started a Championship game for the first time in nearly two years. Even after coming back from the serious Achilles tendon injury he suffered in 2020, Cillian has had a constant battle with injury so it was great to see him back fighting fit against Cavan at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park yesterday evening.

He made the most of it too. Busy and inventive from the off, the Ballintubber player combined well with Darren McHale and, between them, they added extra thrust and variety to our attacking movements.

Cillian finished the day on four points from play – one of those could so easily have been a goal – and was our standout performer in the match. With 25% support in the poll, you’ve selected him as our MOTM from the game.

Others to feature prominently in the poll include Cillian’s brother Diarmuid, as well as Matthew Ruane (both 16%), Ryan O’Donoghue (12%), Sam Callinan and Darren McHale (both 6%) and Stephen Coen (5%).

Well done to them all and well done in particular to Cillian O’Connor, our MOTM from yesterday’s game.

51 thoughts on “Cillian O’Connor is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Great to see COC back, id be having him start instead of Tommy C against the Rossies the next day.
    Tommy C for me not doing it and not on the scoresheet again.
    FF line is COC, ROD and AOS

  2. Delighted also to see Cillian rolling back the years. I gave no.1 to his brother but at the time and from my vantage point though Diamuid had kicked 1 or 2 of those points. Their kicking style is very similar. And to any youngster practicing their kicking technique they could do worse than copy the those 2 boys. Head down and huge follow through. Their kicking foot ends up higher than their head.
    Now if we can get decent news on Paddy’s injury during this week, things will be looking cushdy enough.

  3. – Cillian sure was man of the match and could have bagged two goals had a final pass went to him as he was in space and unmarked
    – Mayo continued with the slow build up but injected pace at times which is a slight change of tactic.
    – McStay will be livid with the amount of passes that went astray and letting in a mess of a goal against a Cavan team that was very average.
    – Need to up it by about 20% to beat Roscommon again and probably 40% to beat Dublin.
    – There were a fewl guys giving out about the lateral passing but all Senior intercounty teams are playing that way and will continue to do so until rule changes are made.
    – Football matches are now purely about winning not entertaining. If you want entertainment then you will have to go to a hurling game.
    – I would start Cillian and Aido against the Rossies.

  4. Cillian fit is a starter no doubt. The man is the leading scorer of all time in the All Ireland championship for feic sake. Been plagued with injuries. They’re older players than him that start and not a word about it. The man’s a legend

  5. Fantastic to see Cillian putting the niggles behind him and managing to get back into the groove. Simply oozes class at times, such a clever player, can’t even imagine how difficult he must be to try and mark.

    POTM and still a few gears to go through yet. Had a couple of very uncharacteristic turnovers he’ll sharpen up on a lot yet with more minutes under the belt.

  6. I watched Cillian in club championship last year and there were signs that he wasn’t done yet. Delighted to see him back and with game time he will only get better. I would still be using him sparingly like a second half against Roscommon and Dublin. Hopefully he will stay Injury free. Only one word for Cillian used above already. Legend

  7. Congrats to Cillian and great to see him looking more like his old self. A fit Cillian has to start, as one of our proven score getters, a clever player and a strong guy able to gain and keep possession. Verdict on the game-some positives and some areas that need work. Great to have Cillian and Diarmuid back and looking sharp, Sam slotting in well at 6,Darren had a good game and there was some good high fielding. We also kicked some great points and, while I don’t have the stats, think we had very few wides. Kick-outs also worked well. On the negative side, two things struck me. Firstly, a lot of our attacks, in the first half anyway, as that is the part of the pitch I was at, broke down and we lost possession, as a direct result of misplaced/mistimed passes and not thro’good defending-perhaps the intended recipients were also at fault on occasions. I lost track of the number of times this happened. Secondly, it seems to me that many of Cavan’s points came from frees. I am a bit bewildered that we are using a system of man marking in defence, when we don’t seem to have the players with the necessary ability-many of our defenders seem to have to commit fouls in order to stop their opponent, i. e. they are not proper defenders. Also many of our defenders seem happy to let the forward get possession, rather than compete for it.

  8. I thought Cillian was unable to start, this match may indicate he can still start against the top teams. I think if Cillian is allowed stay inside and we have athleticism and a sound structure/selection 2-12 we can prosper.
    I like the idea of Ryan outside and Tommy and Cillian inside. I like the idea of Aidan coming in.
    To give the Dublins and Kerrys a problem it’s all about making a teans full backline uncomfortable. That’s where the scores mostly need to originate.
    Hopefully now we can have a consistent selection and build a rhythm into this team.
    For me now it’s that experienced solid cohort of Matthew Ruane, Stephen Coen, Diarmuid O’Connor, Conor Loftus and Ryan O’Donoghue that need to see this as their team and go and take wins from teans. Take them. Front foot.
    Here I am Lord, it is I Lord and I’m leaving here with the win. Alex Higgins late Sunday night desperately needing a win attitude. How do you like that? Bang!

  9. Could Cillian be our Andy Moran? Strangely, Andy got better as the years went on. Mostly due to his intelligence, as he was never a particularly pacey player. Cillian at his best would give us a completely different dynamic.

  10. Well deserved COC and good all round performance by everyone. Nice improvement in the right direction and although not too many goal chances, great conversion rate on point taking. Disappointing crowd at the match however whatever is going on. A lovey sunny evening for a game at home against a novel opposition and not on any TV doesn’t leave a lot of reasons not to be there. Maybe the cost, maybe the number of games, lack of jeperdy etc etc. On the way in the first fella I met said “you’d see more a league match”, summed it up!

  11. That’s an interesting question, Mayo Focus. I’ve been thinking the same thing about him this year. He can’t play the game he used to any longer but close to goal he’s still deadly if he’s provided with the right ammo so it’s definitely an option to deploy him that way.

  12. Well done Cillian. The 1st thing I noticed about him was how fit and lean he looks and I’m not sure is he as slow as people think. Regarding the crowd i think 5 Saturday is a bad time for a game. I was there myself but had to finish what I was doing at 2 and people working all week and maybe only Saturday to catch up on stuff at home it’s not easy lets say a 7 o’clock game you’d have until 4 or 5 o’clock and most would be thinking of finishing around that time anyway. Add that to the cost and frequency of the games and it all adds to people picking and choosing which games to go to watch. That’s my take on it anyway.

  13. Minor match fixed for the hyde . Wouldnt it have been a fantastic curtain raiser for our senior game v ros though

  14. @Mayo focus

    Andy changed the way he played after the knee injury in 2012. He had to be a cuter to find that yard of space. He became lightning quick over a couple of yards to create that space. I remember him dismantling Kerry in 2017.
    I think he ended up with 1-05 from play.

    Cillian has the ability and cuteness to do exactly the same. He has a few years in yet if the body holds up. Lets hope he gets a bit of luck in that respect.
    Even at 75% fitness he offers us plenty. An inside line of Cillian, Ryan and Tommy C isn’t to be sniffed at.

  15. Congrats to Cillian O Connor, well deserved, and best of luck going forward,
    I didn’t get time to Air my views on the Connacht Final, it was a final Mayo could have and should have won ,in fairness we put in a good performance all round, however in my opinion it was lost in the first half ,can’t remember the stats, but with all the possession we had in that half should have got more score on the board, we have to be more ruthless going forward, and that is the key word ,go Forward ,
    Secondly I can’t understand why Aiden and Jordan was taken off at the heat of battle, that was our two strongest players gone off the field .in my opinion this left the middle of the field wide open, and of course Comer spotted the opportunity and moved out and gained vital possession to set up his team to victory, going forward well done a good win over Cavan but will have to improve to get a result in the Hyde both on the field and on the sidelines. Hon Mayo ?

  16. One thing is for sure If mayo are to make progress, we need scoring forwards of which Cillian used to be one of the best and still has a huge role to play. without being negative, who have we beaten ? Did ok in the league beat a poor RosCommon and cavan teams Who were both missing numerous key players. Galway in some way, show us where we are when they started bringing on their key players in the second half they were just too good for us.
    it’s only really when we moved to the quarter final stage that we will see where Mayo football really is.

  17. Well done Cillian – great to see another forward option. How we deploy him will be crucial as I can see counties targeting him and putting a pacey player on him to drag him outfield.

    He is under the radar thanks to the GAA no coverage policy there will be few clips of his exploits in the lead up to the Rossie match.

    Also I worry about his injury-prone late career profile.

    Ridiculous that next week’s teams are out the following week. Worth a couple of points to us.

  18. Great boost for COC. I think all Mayo supporters are more upbeat about our season now that we have another scoring forward. I would not be in anyway negative about Tommy C either. He’s a great player, he will get the space he needs in Hyde.
    @ Olive, it’s our over reliance on slow build up that’s the problem. Sure every county is ‘at it’ but the Dubs etc balance it with quick breaks.
    It’s a lot harder to create goal chances when you allow a defence to set out their stall before you try open them up.
    Hard to pinpoint why we are coughing up goal chances ourselves- hopefully it’s not complacency, toothless Cavan had two chances in the last quarter, they took one

  19. Well done and great to see him back fully fit. I’d say he was being nurtured all year to have him ready for summer. Looks in great shape. He can take the static out of the forward play and definitely open up the play for the pacier players around him to. We can be a different animal with all these lads fit.

    We’ll know the outlook for Paddy tomorrow according to the CT after a scan. I’d also be guessing we’d have a fair idea on Carr’s recovery time as well this week as its one of those where it could go well and only take a few weeks fingers crossed. Great to have all available for Dublin or the game after which gives them 4/5 even up to 6 wks.

  20. Well done Cillian. I’m not sure why people ever thought he wasn’t fit to start and play a full game. A man of his skill and talent doesn’t lose it over night. He may not be as mobile as he used to be but his passing and linking play is so valuable to us. With Tommy or Ryan playing off him at pace its a no brainer for him to be starting. Good to see DOC back to himself too. And one stage sat he must have past 4 Cavan players on a sprint back to defend, he can cover some amount of ground that sometimes goes unnoticed.

  21. @Sean burke: Highly unlikely to happen, sadly.

    I’ve forgotten which specific report it was but HQ got the feedback (came into focus around the time it went from u18 to u17, but think it was a report from years earlier highlighting the issues) for minor that the ‘big days out’ for young kids was having a detrimental impact and hurting player development. Too much pressure too young (even at u18) and folks with a combination of physical and mental exhaustion put off playing the game at all.

    Fermanagh brought a motion to the last Congress calling for the ol’ minor/senior double header in Croker to be reintroduced (motion based more for the benefit of fans/atmosphere than for the minors to have the big game experience) and it got withdrawn by themselves before it ever went to vote. Not sure if they ever shared the reason for the withdrawal, but it was expected to fail long before that and it not even reaching a vote suggests there’s a strong opposition to it.

    Whatever about LGFA or 20s double headers (highly unlikely for different reasons with the new 60 hour exclusion window starting next year) I’d be surprised to see any minor double headers happening.

    Was always a big fan personally, with the minor games often providing the better game on the day (even if we weren’t involved). That said, if the pressure was causing problems for players that young, you’d totally understand folks following the science on it and doing what’s best for the players long term.

  22. Great to see Cillian back firing on 5 if not 6 cylinders. His scores always look effortless to me. Thought the spread of scorers was heartening but we should have nailed at least one of the goal chances. Left Cavan in contention at half-time when we had dominated. Overall happy with the progress aside from Paddy’s injury at the end which left a sour taste in the mouth. Hopefully we hear some positive news this week regarding the extent of the injury.

  23. Need both O’Connors back at full tilt if we are to be serious contenders at the business end. The 2 best players on the pitch on Saturday.

    Cillian has to start from now on, guarantees scores. Tommy still isn’t contributing enough scores so probably should be under pressure at this stage but as he has pace he should get in ahead of AOS who will have to settle for bench role.
    Mchale done enough to earn another start I thought and adds another left footer to the attack so for Roscommon game I think we will actually go with the same starting 15 again all things considered

  24. A lot saying Tommy had a quite game. I wasn’t at the game due to a pre planned event so cant really comment but could someone who watched him closely give an update ? was he well marshalled, on the ball much, shots, passes etc…

  25. @darky

    Similar showing to recent outings for Tommy, kept showing and kept trying, drew a lot of men in when he won the ball and always taking his man on but seemed to be forcing it and never really threatened to score. Not for the lack of trying but just not fully clicking for him yet

  26. How in the name of god did our number 10 get any votes…….????
    Were ye at the match??

  27. @Supermac: Potentially the same 15 again.

    Wouldn’t be shocked if we went back to the 1st half setup from the semi-final. McBrien sweeping and McHugh on Smith. Case to be made there for Enda coming in to tag Ben O’Carroll and leave Sam to take Daire Cregg, but a few different ways to work the match-ups there that could all work.

    The flip side is that’s probably what Roscommon will be expecting and they’d be looking for ways to nullify David’s impact this time, so a chance management might change it up. Potential to use any of DO’C/Sam/Jack as the sweeper or even (hopefully not for my nerves in the first 10 minutes) again go full man on man as curveballs.

  28. Sorry Catcol Cillian is no longer under the radar. He is one of the nominees for footballer of the week, together with Paul Conroy and Tom O’Sullivan. Great return for Cillian

  29. One thing that disappointed me about Tommy on Saturday was his work rate. He was not tackling his man coming out with the ball and following him back. Not only player at fault in this regard and we have to rectify this as impossible to defend if everyone not tracking their man when needed.

  30. There are a number of aspects of our play defensively that need addressing.
    Firstly, Our concession of goals and goal opportunities is very worrying. We have left ourselves wide open at times, often against bang average teams. New York hit us for two goals and Cavan could have had two yesterday. For all our talk about the result against Galway, we were very generous in terms of letting them in on goal. Only for a ridiculous save by Reape and another clearance off the line, Galway could have won it a lot easier than they did.

    Secondly, our concession of frees is another worry. We supposedly have one of the best tackling coaches in the game but are constantly conceding cheap frees that keep teams in the game.

    Delighted for Cillian by the way. A super player and an unreal servant for the county. Vastly underrated across the country.

  31. The poll is only a bit of craic Tomthumb but I thought Jack did ok. He showed for a lot of ball from full/half back line and linked up play pretty well. I wouldn’t have him as our least effective player on Saturday by any means….
    Anyway even our most useless of candidates next month will get a few votes from family members so…

  32. Could there be an argument for starting the 4 of them C O Connor, A O Shea, R Donoghue and T Conroy?
    would setup as 2 and 2, probably Cillian and Aidan in full forward lien and Ryan and Tommy come out to half forward line and try and hold there. The 4 of them can play inside or further out the field, be inter changing positions.
    Ryan and Cillian would probably be the 2 best players Mayo have for the centre forward role, both have a great kick pass and creative and plus both can score long range. Conroy needs the space out the field and get the ball on the run.
    I think they should all start, people will say you need one of them off the bench but I think the 4 of them together is worth it, McHale and Boland off the bench isnt too bad.

  33. Thanks Supermac ..not to bad so but room for better from TC.

    Tommy123 – there is a definite case for starting all 4. Towey, Boland off the bench when things are opening up but its rare and often a concern that we don’t get enough of an injection from our subs (what 15 we start or finish with)

  34. Andy in 2017 was sensation. Clever movement, quick turns. He was an example to all about using your head.

    I was sitting beside a man from Kerry for the 2017 Quarter final against Roscommon (drawn game). Kerry had beaten Galway prior to our game. Andy had a few wides against the Rossies & this chap was saying he’s no good. I politely told him he’ll show his class. He ripped Kerry apart a couple of weeks later.

    I do wonder was Tony Mc the architect of our gameplan that tear though..when we came good that year it was sublime.

  35. If paddy durcans injury is season ending we are in big trouble . I think whatever chance we had of topping the group which is a slim one in most peoples forecast would be greatly diminished .

  36. Yeah Sean, that about sums it up. We will fight the good fight an all but you really need everyone to get to the promised land, and particularly players of the calibre of Paddy Durcan. Without him, it all just becomes so much harder. So please let it not be season ending

  37. 5statwment just out paddy suffered a cruciate ligament injury massive blow for him and mayo.

  38. Ah poor paddy , we will deffo feel his loss, poor chap can’t catch a break

  39. Very sorry for paddy ,goes without saying wish ya all the best with your recovery .

    Massive blow for Mayo , id love to remain optimistic but thats a dynamic gone we cant replace unless by some miracle oisin mullen returns home in the next couple of weeks .

  40. First and foremost, we can only wish Paddy a speedy recovery. The torn cruciate has become all too common and it’s a sickener for Paddy after battling back from injury.

  41. Oh captain, my captain. What a loss. Best wishes for a good and healthy recovery.
    Máigheo abú

  42. @Tommy123
    Personally I wouldn’t start all 4, I do worry sometimes in Mayo we obsess over the starting 15 and insist on all the big names starting and shoehorning lads in to accommodate that.

    We really need an impact off the bench as it’s been years since we had it. Most of the other top teams are holding back some gamechangers.

    If its 3 out of the 4 lads above well ROD is first name on timesheet, I would start cillian personally now he has his eye in, been 2 years since his achilles injury, he guarantees scores and works and tackles hard. So then it’s between AOS and Tommy for last spot, arguments for and against both. Neither has been in stellar form this year but I would give Tommy the nod as we would need pace in there as cillian ain’t the quickest.

    AOS and Boland/mchale coming in after 55 minutes should impact things

  43. An awful lot of cruciates for us in the past few years, Jason, Tommy and now Paddy. I have a feeling I am forgetting someone. And in general in the game there seems to be an increase in the past few years. One thing that struck when I walked across the pitch Saturday with the young lads, and the same in Salthill after the Galway game, was how firm they were and how little give there was in the pitches. Do players have the right footwear for these pitches or have they gone too much towards surface consistency at the expense of player welfare?

  44. …just seeing the Paddy Durcan news:-(

    Looks like it’s the worst case scenario alright, the dreaded ACL, 12 months out, a huge loss to the team as he is our most important player besides ROD. He is also invariably our best ‘big game player’

    Gutted for him on a personal level, he hasn’t had a clear run of it as captain at all, he was flying it too at the start of the league and was shaping up for a good year

  45. Cillian made life hard for his defender last day with his constant movement,and he can score,it’s a no brainer to start him ahead of AOS, TC still a better option due to his pace

  46. Absolutely delighted to see Cillian back firing well. Class is permanent.

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