Cillian’s in scoring form again this year

Cillian scoring free v Galway

Photo: Mayo Mick

Last year, despite suffering two shoulder dislocations over the course of the summer, Cillian O’Connor still managed to finish up as the top scorer in the 2014 championship. This year, our newly-minted marquee forward is once more to the fore in the same department, where he currently holds joint-top spot with Tipperary’s Con Sweeney (full details here).

It’s early days yet, of course, but another extended run in the championship for us could well see the talented Ballintubber man follow up his back-to-back Young Footballer of the Year wins with a two-in-a-row in the championship scoring stakes as well. If he does, an overdue All-Star might even be on the agenda this time round but I guess it’s best leave any such talk on hold for now and hope instead that the scores keep coming at the same rate as they’ve done so far this year.

37 thoughts on “Cillian’s in scoring form again this year

  1. Not bad for someone who isn’t a “marquee forward”!!

    Or what is it now, that he is in fact a “marquee” forward but we now rely too much on him? Makes sense alright, we really struggled in the second half v Tyrone last year without him!!

    Anyhow in all seriousness, great to see him flying and looks to be improving with every year. In 2012 he was very average from play in the final and in Connacht but has improved immeasurably since! Hope to God he comes through this weekend unscathed now!

  2. hahaha I was going to say the same Ciaran. A lot of people coming around to the fact that he is a marquee forward something we have being told we needed for last couple years and now we rely on him too often Ah well . Anyone else surprised that the Dubs dont have any player n top 5?

  3. Around December last year I was in a long queue for a removal, standing beside two gentlemen that I knew to see. With the length of the wait, conversation eventually turned to the latest lost All-Ireland. The two gents, when they grew tired of blaming James Horan for everything, then started into how we didn’t have any forwards.

    ‘Cillian O’Connor was top scorer in the championship’, I pointed out. ‘Arrah, half of them were frees’ was the response. ‘He scored three goals in a game, for two games in a row!’, I said. ‘Sure they were tap-ins, I could have scored them myself’, the boys came back with.

    Honest to God, if we weren’t in line for a funeral home I would have really let fly. The polite version of what I would have said is ‘Some Mayo “supporters”, like you, don’t deserve the players they get’.

    Cillian O’Connor has been outstanding for Mayo ever since he pulled on the jersey. Whatever this Mayo team achieve in 2014, his role will be decisive. He is just a class act.

  4. He is a marquee forward and will be targetted as such. By both club and county teas. He needs to mind himself as well. Very few other ‘marquee’ forwards get stuck in. Brogan never does and the Gooch very rarely did as well. Murphy does sometimes but you’re talking a seriously big man there. The point is that if he is to be our ‘marquee’ fw he may have to forego other aspects of his game such as his defensive an tackling abilities.

  5. Played 3 and a half games last year and was the championships top scorer.

    Nah he’s not a top forward.

  6. As someone coming from a different county (I’m a Tyrone man) anyone who disagrees with the fact that O’Connor is a top class footballer is having a laugh. The man is very talented.

  7. I saw something new from Mayo last Sunday. Amazing power and strength around the middle third of the field with two O’Sheas and B Moran bossing the middle and Doherty and K Mc Loughlin charging in fearlessly like Paul Galvin to hoover up. Finally a role where a strong lad like Doherty excels. It reminded me of Maughan’s teams who were built on power around the middle with McHale ,Brady,and McManamin. If the other team are denied possession then they don’t score, no matter how good their forwards are (marquee or whatever).

    Something else that as new was that we played without a full forward. Andy took Hanley all over the field and created space for in rushing half forwards and backs. There was great movement in the forward line instead of the usual lateral passing stuff. No hopeful balls into Freeman who probably will be beaten by the full back anyway. This tactic is very clever and we should persist with it. Andy did not get on a lot of ball but he opened up the space for others. We got three great goals and could have got six. The tactic of a big man like A. Shea or B. Moran running into the square works far better than the static big full forward who is easily marked.

    As regards the hole in the middle of our defense, I would give Keith Higgins the role of sweeper. He could play a role like Mark McHugh for Donegal tearing up and down the field, linking play. Higgins has the speed, energy and skill for it and it is close the the role he plays at the moment. Cunniffe and Barrett should mind the back. It is how we could control the runs of Kerry and Dublin’s marauding forwards and is a very fluid, total football way of playing. I’d love to see it against Cork (or Sligo)

  8. Think Cillian is an extremely talented and very intelligent player who has been brilliant for Mayo when fit. His injury last year cost us dearly in AIF when he was obviously operating at half throttle. It is so vital for us that he stays fit. Having said all that is he as good as gooch brogan joyce in his prime or the new kid on the block o Donaghue. Only one way to answer that.

  9. He’s not as good as those, to win just once, not yet anyway (apart from O’Donoghue, who Cork made look as good as Gooch himself the last day).

    But come the end of Cillian’s career I’d be surprised if he’s not mentioned in the same breath as Brogan, at least.

  10. I agree with you Up she flew on the fact that we lorded midfield and as you said we cut supply off there it doesn’t matter how good their forwards are . If we can do this against teams like Cork, Kerry and the Dubs will should keep us o the front foot. However when Galway did get past our midfield and ran at us we look very vulnerable. This is something we need to looked at. But as the championship progresses i think our forwards will be exerting more pressure on their markers.If we can boss the midfield we will be hard to beat so having the likes of the 2 O’Sheas , Moran, gibbons and Parsons we are in a good position. Lets keep positive !!

  11. Interesting to hear that point from” up she flew”. Andy has been dropped already by everyone but maybe his role was to pull the full back all over the place. Some bloggers say we’re too predictable but here was something new. He was a hero after the rossies match. Now everyone wants him dropped. Lets not rush to judgement . . the next day cillian will be closely marked so maybe Andy will have a blinder. Keep it fresh. Throw in Sweeney the next day Cork dont know him

  12. Cillian having another great season also is he too old for ypoty he deserves it and was done out of it by flash in the pan jack mccaffery

  13. Mayomaningalway, they look good alright but were let do so by a very poor Cork performance. It looks as if to lift Sam this year we will probably have to beat Cork,Kerry and the Dubs to do so. I think the way we are coming to the boil slowly and the order we will probably meet those sides (all due respect to the other teams left in) will stand us good, it’s like steps to Sam now and we are about to start the climb, with every step that little more difficult……………..a perfect combination in my mind and if we are to win, it will be by beating what is regarded over the decades as the top 3 most difficult.
    Barring injuries to Cillian ( who is top class) and the rest of the squad,they are capable of getting there.
    Agree with Upsheflew above about Andy’s role last week and Dillons in the other corner, good move by JH to have them as the assumed target men to clear the center. Doc and K Mac are class acts and should haunt whoever we face, also agree about the problems at the back and the suggested use of Keith———-with a fit Tom C and Chris B it will take something to beat them.

  14. Cilian is a class act and for his age, shows tremendous leadership. I predict it won’t be long before he takes the captains role. Having said that, he will be a marked man so he better look after himself.

    I disagree with the above assessment of Andy’ role and performance last Sunday. It was poor, by his own standards, and surely that was not by some grand design.

    But he needs real match time, to gain fitness and sharpness and as I pointed out in an earlier post, Horan probably gambled with him (and Alan), knowing we could still pull it off without both of them firing on all cylinders.

    Yes, we bossed the middle third of the field, but let’s not cod ourselves, it was men against boys and Galway was naive in the way they persisted with their kick-out strategy. Better teams won’t be as naive; however we have learned that lesson the hard way and will be prepared for tougher battles in the 1/4 final.

  15. I was at the game & watched it again on tv. Caff & Barrett were in real trouble. Galway missed a number of goal chances. We seriously need to tighten up—perhaps use a sweeper. Andy was of the pace & dillon contributed little. If we meet Cork Hurley will cause us serious trouble.

  16. I would not forget freeman yet.

    While his confidence seems a little shook at the moment for some reason, he has turned big games back in our favour in the past and looks much stronger than he did then, I just dont understand why he and COC dont make an unbeatable combination.

  17. Having watched the match in full last night I would have to say Andy was much better than some are giving him credit for. He won most balls that were sent in his direction, pulled Hanley all over the place and had a hand or foot in a number of our scores eg he delivered the ball to Cillian for Keegans goal. Sometimes we base all our judgements on the last game. I am sure managers don’t do that as they are aware as to whose doing well in training and are also aware that anyone can have an off day. So against Roscommon there were major grumblings about AOS and Jason Doc while someone here even called for Keegan to be dropped. At the same time we were all toasting Andy for saving the day. Fast forward to the Connacht final. Keegan, Doc and AOS getting loads of praise while Andy under pressure. Overall these guys have been excellent over the last four years. Granted all of them have not always been excellent in every game they have played but then who has. Its all about the collective and the team and in fairness to them they have the TEAM mentality as shown by the unselfishness of Cillian for the first goal and Keegan for the third. .So onwards and upwards Maigh Eo abu

  18. Change of subject here lads and lassies any one doing sfa Sunday make yer way to Nenagh where an All Ireland title awaits our under 14 ladies le cunamh de!!!

  19. Was not meaning to be over optimistic, there are still a lot of ‘if’s,buts and ands.Was instead trying to say that we will have to beat 3 top teams in ascending order to achieve (one of those could well be Donegal or even Monaghan). Looking at Cork,Kerry and Dublin as the most probable and in that order, it could help with the aim to peak in September, if that is what we’re apparently aiming for.
    The improvements over the last couple of games and the league are there, some are quite subtle, others, the like of Doc,Aido and Kevin Mc are obvious enough.
    My biggest worry, as throughout the league and last Sunday is the amount of scores and chances we’re coughing up and to go all the way we have to be meaner.
    Though I believe that if Galway put away all their chances, I think we would have been able to crank it up another gear , so was never in doubt of the win, we still gave them chances too many and if it was Kerry, Cork or the Dubs we would not get away so easy.
    Most seem to be keeping their feet firmly on the ground this year and I think hype will not get into it. The long grass will suit fine.
    MaighEo Abu

  20. Funny, Id be more wary of Cork than Kerry. Id worry when Kerry are quiet and everybody is writing them off….lets face it they were being considered as also ran’s up until the Munster final where they dismantled a very poor Cork team on the day. If we can get past our quarter final I would fancy us against Kerry.

    On Cillian….he is indeed a “marquee” forward and our best forward by a mile. Mr.Consistent.

  21. I wouldn’t rule that out at all, Eddie, though I think it’s equally possible that they could lose to Tipp. If Galway make the quarters, however, then it’s a case of two relatively young teams and if it’s an open and free-flowing game then Galway definitely have a chance. I still think Kerry’s greater experience at this level (remember that they had a chance to go a point up on Dublin last year as the match went into injury time) will stand to them but, if they make the quarters, Galway could give Kerry a far better match than they’ll be expected to.

  22. To be honest I don’t think they’ll get past Tipperary.

    I’m loving the optimism on here and am feeling a bit of it myself but I really did think that Galway were hopeless on Sunday. Not fit enough, not strong enough, not good enough. Still living in the late 1990s, those lads. Mind you we can only beat what is put in front of us and we did that convincingly.

  23. Yeah Eddie I genuinely think the same.

    Of course as WJ says they have to get past Tipp first but I can’t see anything other than a Galway win there really. Tipp have performed admirably so far but galway still have too much quality and Conroy back fit is a huge plus for them- you saw how well he did against us on Sunday.

    Then against Kerry in Croke Park anything can happen. I’m far from convinced by this Kerry side and truth be told they’ve been on a steady decline now since 2009 (although they should have won in 2011). Kerry have only won 3 matches in Croker since their AI win in 2009 and that was against Limerick, Cavan (easy wins) and ourselves- when we were in our first year under Horan and truth be told a lot inferior to where we are now.

    They’re in a rebuilding phase and while they showed some great signs against Cork, they were up against absolutely zero. They struggled at times v Clare remember.

    Galway would be going up with no-one giving them a chance and zero to lose. Kerry’s backs are very suspect and if the likes of Walsh and Conroy are given plenty of room, they’ll do damage. The Gooch is a massive loss and if Donoghue could be held at all, I don’t immediately see where all the scores are going to come from. If Galway could kick 0-16 points in that match aswell it could well be enough

    Far stranger has happened. It’s a bit of a cliche by now but Galway often get going when they get up to Croker!

  24. Remember is usually a shock or two along the way….we can all predict but they will be at least one shock, happens every year.

  25. Kerry’s style of play suits Galway too you’d imagine. They wouldn’t have as much joy vs the tighter teams like ourselves and Dublin and even Monaghan/Donegal but as WJ alludes to a good free flowing game would suit them a lot more

    But anyway, have to beat Tipp first. The two weeks off does help Galway big time though and I’d be highly surprised if they didn’t pull through that one

  26. I think Galway will have learned a lot from Sunday. Paticularly in terms of what it takes physically against a top Div1 team. When Boyle hit Comer that time he took all the win out of the Galway sails. You could see that the force of the hit left a few Galway forwards nervous about the intensity and this probably led to them shooting much faster and forced them into more errors. In the second half they came out of the blocks like a greyhound and were unfortunate not to get at least 1 goal. If they had the momentim in the team would have changed and it would have ben a diferent match. Instead they again missed their chances whilst we went down the other end and scored 2. That’s a real sickener for any team.

    But to their credit they didn’t give up. And this shows that they have some self-belief. If they can harness that they will take stopping. Whether they can get it back together in time before the Tipp game is a different question. If they do, and get also some momentum back they will be very difficult to beat even for the likes of Kerry.

  27. Honestly, Galway were poor against us, but at times showed signs of their ability. While the match was never in any doubt, the one thing that stood out for me about was that they didnt give up, as JPM eluded to, nor throw in the towel like last year. Thats hard to do when you know your well beaten on the field…to ignore that reality and and continue to play through, I admired that.
    I’d expect them to beat Tipp and march on to Croke Park for a date with Kerry. Kerry will be better by then, but so might Galway and you’d never know what could happen. Who knows, we could end up playing them again!

  28. Fair point To Win Just Once. I watched it again and I did not realise during the game what an influence K Mc had on the game. He should have played Alan Freeman at the end of the game. Otherwise he was exceptional. Had a couple of Rossies tell me during the week that we are over reliant on COC. Yea the sheer power of suggestion.

  29. Galway shoud get past Tipp but I wouldn’t be surprised if Tipp turned them over. Beyond that it’s game over, ball burst for Galway. I just can’t see them beating Kerry.

    Kerry will have momentum after beating Cork. They are dangerous this year and will have no fear of Galway or of ourselves if we progress to a semi-final.They hace excellent recent records against both teams.

    Kerry were just pipped in the last three all-ireland campaigns losing to Dublin by a point in 2011 in a game they should have won. In 2012 they lost a very tight quarter-final to Donegal, they came closest that year to overturning Donegal and last year the break of a ball and McCauley’s fist came between them and an AIF appearance.

    They’ve lost a few key players but they’ll feel that this is a year to get to another AIF and a chance to topple the Dubs. Kerry are very dangerous and while Galway might give them a game, I can only see one result.

  30. ^^^

    Kerry were well beaten by Donegal that game. Only for the latter fell asleep near the end it would have been an annihilation. Ourselves and even Cork gave them a much better game

  31. Have to disagree Ciaran – for the first hour there was never more than a score in it, and Donegal only won by 2 points, going into injury time they were only 1 point ahead. The goal that allowed them to stay ahead during the match and ultimately win it was a total fluke from a sideline ball.

    You need the luck to win an AI, and Donegal were lucky that day and throughout that whole championship – if any team had got momentum early against them in any match, they would not have been able to play as defensively as they did – their whole game plan was based around getting ahead early, and holding it. Our final against them a case in point.

  32. Lacey and Gallager out for Ulster final clash. I would have given Monaghan the edge anyway but id be more confident now that Monaghan should do 2 in a row

  33. Anne-Marie………’optimism’……….ha ha nice observation, and it’s running seriously through this thread !………this whole site hangs on optimism, and it’s long may it continue !!…………..Since ’89 I’ve been at 8 Mayo AIF starts, got 1 draw and 7 losses……………Who gives a shit…..we’re top tier, top 4-5 for the last God knows when, and always up for it year-on-year………..there isn’t a County in Ireland can boast such a strange but brilliant track record !…………….If we’re not winning AIFs (….yet !), I’ll take all those big days out in Croker in quarters and semis when we give a serious account of ourselves and get the results…………..Cryin like a baby with the oul fella (RIP) beside me in 2006 when Ciaran Mac pipped the winner against the Dubs………..and us 8 pts down before that !!…………….brilliant, brilliant, brilliant !!………………One proud Mayo Man for sure here……………….How would I handle and AIF win !!…………I shudder to think !!

  34. Gee my memory must be well out so!

    Thought it was a game Donegal were always in control of and never looked like losing. Anyhow all academic- they won and that’s the main thing

    It highlights the point Kerry haven’t done anything unexpected in Croke Park for 5 years though. Lost all games they were expected to lose plus against Down and won 2 matches against vastly inferior opposition and 1 v ourselves though we were very inexperienced and early in our development

    Goes to show the cliche “you’ll never write off Kerry” is well outdated at this stage! Always amazes me how people don’t accept they’re in a rebuilding phase like with Tyrone. Anyone can see by now they’re a shadow of the noughties side and it’ll be a while before they’re winning AIs again.

    Hope we get them rather than Galway though, if we play anywhere near our best it’d be mighty finally beat them in Croker. Il be sticking a few quid on Galway though if they do get past Tipp

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