Cillian should be back in the mix for Sunday

Cillian O’Connor, since 2019 the all-time top scorer in the football Championship, has had a frustrating time of it this year, only seeing action intermittently off the bench.

The Ballintubber man’s most recent cameo for the county came in the defeat to Roscommon back in April, where he joined the fray as a second half substitute and kicked an outrageous point into the Albany end. Since then, however, he’s been sidelined and he didn’t feature in the match-day 26 for either the Kerry game or the Louth game.

After the latter match, Kevin McStay stated that Cillian was “could have almost played” in that one. Assuming that assessment was accurate, it could well have been the case that a decision was made not to risk Cillian in that game and instead to give him a few more weeks of recovery time.

On the Cork preview episode of the Mayo Football Podcast, which went online today on Patreon and is hosted by Mike, featuring Colm Boyle and Mick Foley of the Sunday Times, the subject of Cillian’s fitness comes up. Mike mentions on the pod that the expectation is that Cillian will be back in the panel for Sunday so it’s fair to say that all eyes will be on Friday’s panel announcement to see if he is.

Mike also confirms on the pod that Brendan Harrison played a full sixty minutes for Aghamore at the weekend so his rehab would appear to be on track as well. While Brendan is unlikely to be in the running for a match-day panel place this coming weekend, it’s still great to have a player of his experience back in the saddle once again, just as the serious stuff is about to start.

That Cork preview pod is a great listen, by the way, and it’s available for our club members on Patreon. If you want to join the club to access this and other great content, you can do so here.

67 thoughts on “Cillian should be back in the mix for Sunday

  1. Great news on cillian. Would be delighted to see him back and strengthening the bench whether he starts or comes on. He definitely has had a bad couple of years injury wise.

  2. That was the highlight of the podcast for me, Mike saying he’s ready. When they discussed the goal scoring chances missed, I expected either Colm or Mick to suggest that if Cillian got on the end of them , some at least would have been scored. I firmly believe so.

  3. With Brendan not having played any compeditive football for a long time – it’s hard to see him been thrown in at the deep end in an all Ireland quarter, semi or final in Croke Park this year.

  4. @Willie joe great article ! That just made my midweek even better ha! : )

    Great news about cillian he’s been soo unlucky regards injuries he’s a guaranteed scorer when brought on gives so much encouragement & experience to the younger players to I feel . He’s a key player.

    Also great news on Harrison he’s had a rough time on injuries also . What a player is well…

    All in all feeling pretty positive compared to this time last year :p ha.

    Good luck guys !

  5. Great podcast Willie Joe. Boyler and Foley are a great combination. No bull, waffle or clichés. One of the best preview pods I’ve listened to on any platform for a while. Well done to all.

  6. Even at 75% fitness Cillian is a huge option off the bench. Would be a massive boost for us if he can stay injury free.
    I was thinking about Andy Moran who won player of the year in 2017 at age 33. A lot thought his best days had passed.
    Cillian has just turned 31 and like Andy was, he is wily enough to find another way to get the job done if a bit of speed has gone from the legs.

  7. Facing the low scoring knockout dogfight from here on in, I think there’s something to bringing in talented but a little bit off the pace players in the first half. My logic.
    If the blanket teams gets out to a lead, well bringing on your subs with 20mins left may not be so effective as the team in the lead will use every trick in the book to kill the last 20 mins of the game. So you held talent in reserve, but there wasn’t enough momentum in the game late on.
    What is overlooked is that if you bring on a player on 25 mins, they get the half time break after 10mins. So, they have barely worked up a sweat starting the second half. So you get around 50 mins of playing time with injury time included. The idea is you are doing this with players who are top level talent wise but not fit enough to start. But, you don’t swing too far the other way and let too much gametime pass by.
    It also takes account of the disaster that is trying to reel in a blanket team late on, by trying to have your best talent on the field in the 2nd – 4th quarter, not what is traditionally done which is bring on a sub with 20 mins left.

  8. Brendan Harrison has had a dreadful run with injury so it’s fantastic to hear he’s back playing. He’s been a huge miss at a time when we’ve lost a lot of established defenders to retirement.

  9. Delighted to hear that Cillian is in the mix. Our best forward bar none since his debut in 2011, Great to hear that Brendan Harrison is making progress. I doubted if we would see him in green and red again so fair play to him. Onto the match. Cork will have no fear of Mayo. They don’t do inferiority complex down there. They would always fancy themselves against us. 2011 was the first time we beat them in over 90 years. We followed that up with victories in 2014 and 2017, when despite us being far superior we scraped over them. If we win it will be a close run thing. I would think Cork are on the way back. They are no world beaters but will definitely fancy a crack at us. They have a few top class forwards and know that if they beat us they have a good chance of topping the group. They are on zero score difference, we are on plus 6 so a 3 point win for them would put them level with us. Kerry are on minus 3 so they know a decent win and a Mayo defeat will have them top. Big game for us. Any win or a draw will be grand. Never underestimate Cork. Treat them with respect and beat them.

  10. I would echo all the sentiments about Cork.We will need to be at our best to win on Sunday.The easiest way for Cork to win is for us to underestimate them and for us not be absolutely ruthless.

  11. Mayo will win I have no doubt about that,thank you again Willie Joe for the wonderful information that we get from the blog,it is wonderful news to hear that those two players are back,it must be the first time in years that we have a almost full panel of for players

  12. Would be great to have a fit Brendan Harrison back playing before the AIF ( If and when we get there!! ).
    He has been a great servant to Maigheo and would no doubt give that back line a bit of experience to add to the youth and exuberance.

  13. I’m nervous about the Cork game . Only for referees interpretation of the rules, they could have beaten a Kerry team that played better than they did against us .
    Bit like my thought before the Louth match , I’d take a 3 or 4 point win and no injuries.
    Basically just win it and move on .
    Cillian would be a great option from the beach.
    I’m a huge fan of Brendan, hope he gets back to full fitness soon .

  14. Great to see Cillian play a big part on Sunday would make my day and would be wonderful timing. Has a great football brain. Expect Cork to be competitive based on what I saw in the Kerry game but think we’ll be sharp and over power them.

  15. Assuming Brendan Harrison is fit enough to play a part he does add big game experience. You’d figure though that those to be involved playing need to see minutes in the Cork game or certainly the game after.

  16. Mayo would need to be conscious of the scoring difference and the impact it could have – for example if we are three points down against Cork in the last play of the game – then rather than trying to work a goal that might not be on – if we scored a point and lost by two- then we are guaranteed at least second place and a home preliminary quarter final. And depending on the result in Louth-Kerry game a two point defeat might be enough to get us top spot.
    Of course we will be hoping it won’t come to this – but players need to be aware.

  17. Very hard to guess where Brendan’s at re being ready for championship football but if anyone deserves some luck it’s him. If he can even get to be an option on the bench to close out (if ready) that would be great. I’d also expect that even a near fit Brendan brings on the young backs loads and gives the forwards plenty to handle in the A v Bs.

  18. Fantastic news and will be Fantastic to see him back in the green and red again ? ?

  19. Excellent news.

    For the weekend I’d like to see some subtle changes.
    Try get full games in Enda Hess and Paddy Durks.

    Try ROD on 40, give start to Darren Mchale .

    ROD on 40 gives better ball inside to Carr and Aos while also a man who will shot around the D or slightly outside.

    Mchale complements ROD in the corner by being direct runner and accurate shooter.

    Other than that Hession in corner , Paddy in halfbacks , would like to see Fionn start, think he deserves it and maybe some Kevin Mc influence in halfback line

  20. A fully fit cillian o Connor would be a massive boost .I don’t believe he has ever gotten the credit he deserves over the years.All time championship leading scorer which is only ever possibly likely to be caught by David Clifford.imagine what his total would be now without all the injuries he has suffered.Never liked by the dubs because he knew how to look after himself and wouldn’t be intimidated by their most saintly corner back

  21. That’s exactly why cillian is disliked by dubs , Galway , ros etc , he refuses to be bullied and will give ya it back in spades .

  22. Hi Everyone. I think it’s time now to start our strongest 15 against Cork. If Cillian is fit then he starts none of this coming off the bench business. He is still Mayo’s best forward on his day. We need scores and players who are willing to take on shots from the 40. Cillian can do this. I mean no disrespect to ROD he is superb but I believe Cillian starting would be a worth an extra 4/5 points to Mayo. If I’m allowed to digress a little off Cillian then I would urge Management to put either Paddy or Padraig into CHB. Conor is not a CHB but is more useful as a wing forward Shere he can use his foot passing. We are still too open down the middle of our defence. We need to put in the odd ball high into Aidan against Cork let him get on the ball more and create goal chances inside. Start our strongest 15 get them used to playing together even for 50 minutes or so it’s now time to do it. Let’s beat Cork , top the group and make a statement.
    Mayo by 5. Mhuigheo Abu.

  23. @ The heather is rising, you are spot on.
    It is a worry that DoC seems to fade out of games in the latter stages__a lot of mileage and a great servant.

  24. Is there any possibility Armagh put Galway to the sword this weekend and Westmeath could make it uncomfortable for Tyrone? And if the Rossies beat Kildare by more than Dublin beat Sligo it could be Galway, Dublin and Kerry going in as second in their groups and making it very interesting. This could be like 2010 where a surprise package could do it. Injuries particularly to a teams key player could dictate a lot before the year is out. Something mad like a Roscommon v Derry final could well happen.

  25. @Pullhard I actually have a feeling Armagh will beat Galway I would never write Armagh off certainly would fear them much more then cork if we were playing them at the weekend instead .

  26. I have the same feeling Clare. Armagh have a big game in them. Only Caveat is Rian o Neill is suspended which wouldn’t help matters. Think Galway have yet to be really tested. West Meath were well in the match until the sending off and they did not put Tyrone away against 14 men. Same issue with Armagh V Tyrone and only 3 points at the end.

  27. Can’t see Galway losing to an Armagh team without O’Neill. He is worth about 3-4 points p/game at least. The biggest potential for an upset this weekend is mostly likely Mayo losing to Cork but I still fancy we’ll get it done. Cillian is a massive addition to the panel. Always does well against Cork.

  28. Hard to see Armagh pulling off a win without Rian O`Neill, plus a win doesn’t guarantee them top spot or second spot either so they might already have one eye on the preliminary 1/4 finals next week.

    They would need to hand out a fair beating to Galway get top spot which hasn’t happened since Cian o`neill came on board with Galway.

    The only way Armagh can really top the group or come second is by
    1. Winning against Galway and Tyrone / Westmeath draw or Westmeath win
    2. Armagh beat Galway by more than Tyrone beat Westmeath by.

    Galway currently have a scoring difference of +11, with both Armagh and Tyrone on -1.

  29. Its a fair point JKEL88 in terms of group position, but Mc Geeney will want to set down some sort of marker after 3 or 4 so so performances, if Armagh want to feature in the business end of the season. On paper its a Galway win all day but I just have a sneaky feeling they will have got rid of the bad petrol that has been in the engine since the Ulster Final. Should be an interesting weekend of games at the very least. Roll on 2pm Sunday in Limerick.

  30. Bonni Boyler – Fair Point, plenty of teams could kick start their season with a statement win this weekend.

    If we can beat Cork with a good performance and no injury’s i will be a very very happy man next Sunday afternoon

  31. @Bonni Boyler totally agree with you !

    I would not be shocked at all if Armagh win even without Rian o Neill see they tried to get the ban lifted but failed right call by gaa to stick with the ban.

    Galway have not been tested as you say for sure! I don’t get the whole fuss over Galway but anyway haha

    Still think mayo for the win yes can’t take cork for granted but come on were much better team and we should be beating them if we can’t beat a division 2 team that’s struggled to get out of division 2 for the last 6 years then we def have no hope later on against tougher teams.

    Anyways safe travels to all here’s to a good game hopefully ! Ha

  32. @Bonni, there is the potential that Armagh are overrated and could take a beating soon. They were relegated from D1 and beaten in the Ulster final this year. Didn’t win Ulster last year and just about got to penalties against Galway in the quarters last year. Not to mention, that practically everyone agrees that their style of football doesn’t suit them or play to their strengths.

    Clare, Galway deserve the fuss. They have won back-to-back Connacht titles, performed really well in the AI final against a strong Kerry team, as well making a league final which, in all truth, they should have won comfortably. They are also the only big team to look comfortable in their first two group games. They are strong defensively (unlike Mayo) and have star forwards in Comer and Walsh. Plus added depth in Cooke and Burke from last year.

  33. @GBXI but they also blew it last year and lost the last 2 league finals they were in yet they are still huge favourutes ? If that was mayo we would be called bottlers .

    Comer missed what 3 goal chances against reape? Or sorry 5 goal chances they missed .

    But sure we should concentrate on mayo & cork :p haha who’s corks most dangerous forward do you think ?

  34. And mayo wre deserved winners if Galway were good enough in league final they would have won simple as . Sorry for double post!

  35. @GBXI Can’t disagree, my contention is based on gut feeling alone, we will have to just wait and see……

  36. The league title will be sneered at if Galway lift Sam which a lot of us think they will , it would actually become the butt end of a joke unfortunately.

    Listening to the podcast last night the goal scoring stat of one in five is another concern for us . I don’t think Carr should of passed that ball into aido at all v Louth , why not the dummy hand pass and bang . I hope James Carr is not suffering a confidence issue and afraid to shoot for goal . We need a few top performances on Sunday . It’s time now to show the country what you’re made of , it’s vital we win and get ready then for a qf two weeks after . I agree with your man foley on the podcast , if we were to fail to get top spot after getting a well deserved victory in Killarney , it would be a big blow to momentum maybe even a season ending killer blow .

    Supporters : if ya can make it down to limerick at all , let’s be having ya . Let’s drive them on from here on in

  37. @sean Burke agree might have to emigrate though if Galway win Sam haha:p

    Yes it’s vital we win on Sunday if we don’t I would really fear for us going forward to be honest lack of momentum against much stronger teams would be a killer blow for sure .

  38. Sean Burke. Your right. It would be a big blow if we don’t top the group after going to kerry and doing the hard job. That why I was so annoyed at the louth performance. We should never have given cork a chance to top the group and anyone thinking they haven’t that in mind is deluded. Topping the group is the big prize here. . I sincerely hope we don’t pay a price for the louth match. Kerry I expect will rattle up a good score on Sunday.

  39. Galways Croke Park record is atrocious. To win the All Ireland they’d be expected to need to win as many games in Croke Park as they have since their last one

  40. If we do lose to Cork, then it’s probably fairer to say that we’ve paid the price for losing to Cork.
    Two wins from two, let’s hope we live up to the favourites tag this weekend.

  41. FrostTHammer – Interesting stat is Mayo footballers have won the same amount of games in Croke park in the last 2 seasons than Galway footballers have in the last 22 Seasons.

    All joking aside i think they deserve credit for the way they have went about their Business the last 2 seasons and it will be interesting to see if they can kick on this year in the latter stages of the championship.

  42. Whatever is the story with plunkett. He s been out along time. . He made the subs one time in the league and not heard of since. Or what injury has he

  43. Michael Plunkett had a muscle injury but should be back fit at this stage I think.

  44. @JKEL88

    They’re certainly trending in right direction. They need to start beating teams like Armagh regularly and winning at Croke Park before I’ll be fully convinced.

    Tyrone game was a good test for them but the sending off spoiled it.

    Big game for the Rossies too at the weekend. Beating the likes of Kildare is something that they’ve struggled with in recent years. Start winning those kind of games and get into the knock out stages regularly and the Rossies won’t be long springing one of their famous ambushes.

  45. Just to point out, were Mayo and Galway both to win their groups and the Rossies to qualify through the side door, there would be a 66% chance of an all connacht quarter final

  46. GBXI. I wish you had informed us before I bought 5 tickets for the Cork game that we are wasting our time as Galway are already All Ireland champions.
    Not sure what our neighbours have done to convince you that they are so hot. They are a good strong team but like all the other contenders they are certainly not unbeatable.

  47. @FrostTHammer, @JKel, since the 2017 final, our championship Croke Park record is 4 wins 5 losses (44%). Two of those wins came v Kildare and Tipperary.

    Galway’s championship record is 3 wins 3 losses (50%).

    Croke Park used to be a brilliant ground for us midway through the last decade but our record there hasn’t been good of late

  48. This is like the Galway appreciation society haha only messing :p haha

    Still don’t buy the whole Galway thing but this is their year to prove they are the real deal got an easy run to final last year ..

    Anyway back to mayo ha good luck to the guys on Sunday : ) hopefully no injuries of course from either side !

  49. @Stephenite

    That record is 5 wins and 4 defeats

    Wins: Meath, Galway, Tipperary, Kildare and Dublin

    Defeats: Dublin twice, Kerry, Tyrone (everyone single one went on to win the All Ireland)

    Galway drew a game last year, so their figure is lower

    Throw in our league record in that time and it’s 7 & 5. In 60s percentage wise. Respectable 2 out of 3

    Galways with league is 20 percent. 1 in 5

  50. Stephenite – it’s actually 5 wins and 4 losses for us since 2017.

    Interesting how you caveat our wins by saying 2 of them were vs Tipperary and Kildare. Yet you include Galway beating someone on penalties as a win?

  51. Galway went crazy after they beat us in connacht last year to half with it mayo team. I mean that by 1 our heart was just not in it after 21 ( who can blame them mine wasn’t either as a lot of others wasn’t either! ) also we had an insane amount of injuries .

    They then went onto the loose to kerry who I say are questionable even last year we held them off for a good bit in the quarters pats Spillane said that was the worst kerry performance ever ( or maybe mayo are just a good team ) but our heart wasn’t in it so we just hadn’t it in us to kick on but we could have any other year I’ve no doubt

    Anyway old history now but my point being is Galway still have a major point to prove in my opinion anyway..

  52. I forgot the Meath game alright, silly of me. I was taking it from the 2017 final, including that, to make it 4-5 (5-5 includ Meath) Which is cherry picking specific dates of course but my overal point was simply that our Croker record isn’t amazing like it was 7 or 8 years ago and is something similar to Galways recently, in championship of course.

    If Galways game last year was a draw then our win over Dublin was a draw. And I know well because I backed Mayo at 12/1 inrunning and the bet was graded a loser. Not that I cared that evening of course

  53. Of course Galway have a point to prove Clare no All Ireland since 2001 but we are going in right direction but thats no guarantee of winning anything. Dublin still have scope to improve and win it with another 5 odd teams capable of collecting if they get a good run and a bit of luck. Looking forward to matches this weekend.

  54. I think Galway deserve respect but if they’re ahead of
    us it’s by a whisker. There’s a lot of football to be played and we have Cillian back. People getting awful worked up by them, a game between the 2 would be fierce competitive. Also we if we can tighten up the central channel a bit in the next 2 games (and win) we’re an extremely tough nut to crack and probably the most athletic team in it. We lack a Clifford or Con but so does nearly everyone else. The Dubs for all their great players will be starting to slow down, Rock dropped, Mannion over 30 some other lads like McCarthy and Howard getting on a bit, still very good but a few years past peak. The replacements are not like a Connolly, Kilkenny or Con OC or even Kevin McMenamin in his super sub prime, good but not great players. They scored 1-11 against Ros , wouldn’t have predicted such a low score against the opposition in Croker pitch. They then easily dispatched Kildare but we don’t know how good or not they are (poor league and based on Sligo game quite a bit off the best).

  55. Wasn’t overly surprised Dublin just scored 1-11 against Ros, after all the rossies conceded on average 13 points per game in Div 1 and held Mayo to 0-10 in MacHale. Galway managed 1-13 against them but their goal was a fluke coming off the post after a point effort.

    Paul Mannion just turned 30 and Brian Howard is only 25 main thing with Dublin is they don’t have the strength in depth of before and Dessie Farrell is no Jim Gavin.

  56. “Mayo for Sam “ is a horse running tonight at fairy house , 100/1 shot .

  57. I’ll be greedy Sean and do a double on the two Sams.My only 100/1 winner was Norton’s Coin in the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup Never forget it.

  58. 1. Colm Reape Knockmore
    2. Jack Coyne Ballyhaunis
    3. David McBrien Ballaghaderreen
    4. Pádraig O’Hora Ballina Stephenites
    5. Sam Callinan Ballina Stephenites
    6. Conor Loftus Crossmolina Deel Rover
    7. Paddy Durcan Castlebar Mitchels
    8. Stephen Coen Hollymount-Carramore
    9. Matthew Ruane Breaffy
    10. Fionn McDonagh Westport
    11. Jack Carney Kilmeena
    12. Jordan Flynn Crossmolina Deel Rovers
    13. Aidan O’Shea Breaffy
    14. James Carr Ardagh
    15. Ryan O’Donoghue Beal an Mhuirthead
    16. (GK) Rory Byrne Castlebar Mitchels
    17. Tommy Conroy The Neale
    18. Jason Doherty Burrishoole
    19. Enda Hession Garrymore
    20. Darren McHale Knockmore
    21. Donnacha McHugh Castlebar Mitchels
    22. Eoghan McLaughlin Westport
    23. Kevin McLoughlin Knockmore
    24. Diarmuid O’Connor Ballintubber
    25. Paul Towey Charlestown Sarsfields
    26. Bob Tuohy Castlebar Mitchels

  59. @Gizmobobs – Still no sign of Cillian, hopefully that changes on the day and he makes the bench.

    We have some serious options off the bench

  60. @James+Fleming

    Michael Martin’s son indeed. Far from great either struggles on kick out which Mayo management should have their home done on him.

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