Cillian O’Connor is our Player of the Year for 2020

Photo: Irish Independent (Sportsfile)

Right, you the voters have spoken. The poll is now closed on our Player of the Year 2020 vote and, with a resounding 73% of all votes cast, Cillian O’Connor is the winner.

It’s the second time that Cillian has won the Player of the Year award here on the blog, having also been voted our POTY the first time a vote was held for it, back in 2014. Then, as now, he was the obvious winner of the award.

Cillian was in flying form last year and I think it’s fair to conclude that, if he had been fit earlier in the year, relegation from Division One wouldn’t have been a concern to us. Indeed, had he lined for us in the Round 7 game against Tyrone in October I doubt very much we’d have suffered the drop. But that’s water under the bridge now.

I’ve always had a fairly obvious observation to make about Cillian’s contribution to the cause and that’s that we’re simply a different team when he’s on the pitch. He’s that important to us and his presence enables the whole team to function at a higher level.

It’s not just his phenomenal scoring record – though, for those who haven’t seen it, Fergal De Burca’s analysis piece on this issue here on the blog prior to the All-Ireland is definitely worth a read – that makes the Ballintubber man so key to everything we do. His attitude and workrate set him apart as well and these qualities have meant that he’s been one of the team’s leaders every since he first pulled on the jersey.

Once he returned to the fray back in October, it was immediately noticeable how sharp and fit Cillian looked and we saw the benefits of a fully fit Cillian from then right up to the pre-Christmas All-Ireland. His sharpness last year also demonstrated how much he’d contributed in previous years, despite the various injuries he’s been carrying, as well as underlining still further how much we’ve missed him when he’s been out injured.

Last week, Cillian was included in the list of nominees for the 2020 All-Stars. He’ll definitely be on the team when the awards are announced next month but how the all-time top scorer in the Championship can at this stage of his career only have one All-Star award to his credit is simply beyond credulity.

He was also included on the Footballer of the Year shortlist but that’s not a gong he’ll win. Colin Sheridan makes a rather compelling case, though, in today’s Irish Examiner why he should bag this one too – that’s here.

A decade ago last weekend, three developments of note took place from a Mayo GAA perspective arising from a pre-season FBD game we were involved in.

The first was that it was the first ever inter-county match played under lights at MacHale Park. The second was that it was James Horan’s first game as Mayo manager, the starting point for what proved to be one hell of a journey in the years that followed.

The third was that one of the players James handed his inter-county debut to that night was his Ballintubber clubmate Cillian O’Connor, a player who had lined out at Minor level the previous summer. Cillian scored 1-6 that January night in what was an FBD League encounter with GMIT and in the ten years since then he hasn’t stopped scoring for us, as well as doing so much more besides.

The fact that Cillian’s first appearance for us occurred a full decade ago comes as a jolt as well as a reminder that time stands still for nobody. We’ll miss him more than perhaps even we realise when he’s gone and, in the meantime, we’ll treasure the continued and consistent excellence he brings to the side.

Congrats on your second Mayo GAA Blog Player of the Year award, Cillian, and long may we continue to have cause to laud your accomplishments for the county.

23 thoughts on “Cillian O’Connor is our Player of the Year for 2020

  1. Really great to see Cillian really on song last season and playing at his absolute best……Hope he can carry that hunger and accuracy into 2021……..

  2. There could be only one winner for us this season. Was near flawless for us in every game.

    We need to look after him over the next few seasons. He’s so important to us, but we can’t flog him through the league either. This year was the first in a long time that he was fully fit.

  3. Congratulations to Cillian and well deserved. Simply phenomenal this year. His scoring record and work rate makes him irreplaceable.

    He sets a new championship record with every score he kicks. I hope he has plenty more years left playing for us.

    I know it’s a different sport with different demands but I tuned in to the American football play offs before bedtime last night. The 2 quarter backs for the Buccaneers v Saints game were 43 years of age and 42 years of age.

    Maybe 31 – 33 isn’t the end of the road for certain types of players. A good free taker with the ability to still link moves together could have years more to offer than say a dynamic explosive half back.

  4. What a true Professional player of the year is fully deserved. One thing I hope that’s addressed this season is that he stays inside he’s own 40 and not in the oppositions 40. spent far too much time there in the final to do any serious damage to Dublin.

  5. Congratulations Cillian a true leader of men. Many of the great forwards of our time that were Championship Top Scorer twice in their careers would never match this mans leadership ability. Cillian has been Championship Top scorer 5 times in his career and twice young player of the year. That he has 1 All Star tells you all you need to know about this subjective form of honor. His record as top scorer is a quantitative measurement and I believe it will endure. Ni fhaca me a leitheid riomh cheana

  6. Congrats Cillian. We’ll only really realise how good he is when he retires ( hopefully many years away) but like Robbie Keane for ireland, he was called a goal poacher for scoring over 50 goals and now they have they haven’t a player to score 10 international goals in their career. So we should appreciate him while he’s still playing. His championship scoring records are likely never to be beaten.

  7. Cillian is a once in a life time talent. Not simply a generational one. I regard him as the best forward Mayo have ever had in my lifetime.
    None of the trappings … just goals and points.
    I shudder to think of what we will do to replace him. Irreplaceable. As I said, a once in a life time talent.
    His injuries have lost him to us at important times, maybe if he had been better minded, we might have up to 3 All-Irelands in the last ten years.

  8. Well deserved Cillian. Was outstanding for us this year. It’s a pity that all the retirees have no Celtic crosses.

    On a separate note, I see the u20 and u17 Connacht draws were done. Any National league games fixtures yet does anybody know? Or are we waiting for the covid19 numbers to drop?

  9. We drawn to play Galway in semifinal of u20 in early April. Straight knockout.
    Like last year our u20s could end up playing very little football this year. This should be a development competition where teams are guaranteed 4-5 games. Played midweek during summer. This is an important age for the development of players. Current u20 structure is failing these young lads.

  10. Agree with all posters on Cillian’s year and his worth to us generally.

    I was pondering next year’s, sorry this year’s challenge, and I think we need a few game changers or game changing things to happen:

    * goalkeeping – nailing down someone of the Beggan variety for the panel – perhaps someone with 55/60 yard free capability, the sort of thing than punishes opposition where it hurts. Robbie could do this but needs to develop Cillian like consistency.

    * I’ve been thinking about what JP said a few posts back about Barry Duffy. I intend to get to that Balla/Kiltimagh match to look at him – something raw, powerful, score-taking, opposition-shattering from around the middle would be good.

    * Impact subs – we’ve talked about the oldies, but it has got to be made happen. Thus, sluggishness creeps in, 10 minutes into the second half, send for (say), Keith, Boyler, Jordan, not because we can’t think of anything else, but because these have been primed to make an impact, and opposition managers start to panic when they see them coming.

    * Lean mean corner backs who do what it says on the tin. Jack Coyne has yet to be tried – I’m looking forward, O’Hora has to be a possibility, Harry to come back, MacBrien to develop. James McCormack has something to add I feel

    * I feel Towey is a game changer, but I have only seen snatches of him.

    Any thoughts anyone?

  11. I see that Leinster GAA CEO Michael Reynolds has some interesting things to say about the Leinster football championship.

    Apparently it was very “evenly contested” with just one exception this year in Leinster.
    He also isn’t having any of this doom and gloom nonsense about the state of football in the province. Also we won’t be tolerating any questioning of the amount of money pumped into the 10 a row champions.

    So, everything is rosy in the garden and the future is looking okay. No worries there at all.

    So far I’ve heard nothing of him resigning from his post or getting “the push” for his ludicrous comments. He could well keep his job. It goes to show you what we are up against. It’s going to get worse by the sound of it. Poor Leinster. Good luck with that.

  12. Very well deserved Cillian, hope he goes on to win PotY for 2020 as well… Great article in yesterday’s ‘Examiner’ singing Cillians praises…

  13. The Independent is running a competition for Young Sports Star of the year…I would encourage all reader’s to vote for Oísean Mullen.. The voting is really tight right now, just 1% in it!

  14. So according to the CEO in Leinster the Leinster championship is compeditive except for one team. Is that the exact problem that people are pointing out to people like himself. So according to him once Meath and Kikdare have a good compeditive game between themselves everything is ok. Doesn’t matter that both teams will get beaten by Dublin by at least 15 points and more if Dublin want.
    People looking for change – don’t hold your breath.
    Unbelievable how county boards in Leinster are saying nothing and doing nothing about the Dublin situation.

  15. People should rally around Oisin, the Indo has the six contenders names under a photo and blurb of the other main contender…unreal. Even if you normally ignore these polls and/or the Indo, this is a time for us all to vote because of this arrogant, in-your-face bias.

  16. Well I’ve used the wife’s phone all the kids phones and every other device in the house to vote for Oisin but he’s still on 43 percent Trump might be right after all

  17. Well done cillian. I posted here months ago about his scoring records which are phenomenal and does not get the credit it deserves. If he plays for another 3/4 years I believe his record may never be equalled

  18. Congratulations Cillian the best scoring forward iv ever seen in Mayo or any county, should be no question of him as POTY. Ask Pat and Brolly to look at a marquee footballer and looking at him on my sitting room wall here a true gentleman.

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