Cillian’s season may not be over after all

Cillian O'Connor v Galway

Photo: Mayo Mick

The Mayo News is reporting today that Cillian O’Connor may be ready to return to the fray before this year’s Championship season is over … providing, of course, that our season doesn’t end prematurely on us. The paper confirms that there’s no chance he’ll be back for the rest of the Connacht campaign and it’s also unlikely that he’d be okay to start in the quarters but he could, if we’re still involved at that stage, be fit for the semis.

That Mayo News report (which is here – the piece isn’t online yet so you might want to pick up a copy of the paper, either in print or digital form) states that James Horan isn’t at this stage prepared to put a timeframe on Cillian’s likely return – the paper itself estimates that it’s a minimum of eight weeks from when the injury occurred –  with James instead stressing that the player’s recovery would be “assessed each week.” The boss was, though, surprisingly upbeat on Cillian’s chances of returning to action before the campaign is over, when he said the following:

I think there’s every reason to be hopeful that he’ll make it back at some stage and there is no reason to suggest otherwise.

That’s a hell of a lot more positive than any of us could have hoped for in the immediate aftermath of the injury occurring. Cillian now needs the time and space to get back to full fitness and hopefully the rest of the lads can do their bit by ensuring that we’re still in the race for Sam by the time he is ready to return to the fray. Starting with Game 2 against the Rossies.

In that same report, James also confirms that Barry Moran and Jason Doherty are “close to returning” but that they “weren’t just ready yet” to take part in yesterday’s challenge match with Cavan. That sounds like both will be available for selection for Sunday week, as will Evan Regan who came on as a sub in Ballina yesterday.

34 thoughts on “Cillian’s season may not be over after all

  1. Barry and Doherty went through a rigorous enough running drill session at half time in the match yesterday. Both looked to be moving well. They will be in contention in 2 weeks time no doubt.

  2. That really is huge news for Mayo. I don’t think we are capable of winning an AI semi without him.
    No one else would have scored the frees he got againt Dublin last year in the Semi. His all
    round play is excellent as well. If we could reach the semi with a full squad to pick from we will
    be hard beaten from there on in. Hup Mayo.

  3. Sounds good. Team will have to get used to being without him for a while so lets get on with it.
    Willie joe what did you think of dubs and kildare?

  4. Good news but I think it is all to play for with or without Cillian or the others. What is required is a good TEAM performance and it has to be able to withstand a few losses. I think we need a good test and it will hardly come against Ros though every game brings some learning in my view.
    Ros backs are poor without Domican but Kilbride is a good footballer as is Cregg.

    Dublin ,Kerry,Cork and Donegal as well as a few others will have expectations also but each of them has injuries to contend with too.

    It will be a long summer.

  5. Good to hear that there’s a chance that Cillian could be back in action should we still be in the mix come the autumn. Fingers crossed it’ll pan out that way and that he’ll be fit enough to ship the hard tackles as no doubt he’d be targeted by the opposition should he be back in competitive action. In the meantime, lets hope we don’t have to rely on our other free takers to get us over the line as I fear we will struggle with consistency in that department.

  6. Remember51 – I didn’t get to Croke Park until shortly before the end of the Kildare-Offaly match on Saturday evening so I didn’t get the chance to have a proper look at them. You’d have to think that if Kildare were to compete at the top level then they’d have won by more but, in truth, Kildare don’t really compete at that level at all, despite all of McGeeney’s huffing and puffing. The Dubs are confident they’ll thrash them like they did in the league and I think there’s a good chance they might.

    The Dubs themselves never had to get out of second gear against what looked like a very poor Westmeath side. It’s hard to see how Westmeath won promotion from Division Two and after ten minutes or so the match was as good as over. It’s hard to draw any conclusions about Dublin based on that performance but the weaknesses that were apparent in the league – a far from tight backline and an underwhelming midfield – were still visibly there on Saturday evening. Their potent attack should mask those failings until the real action starts but unless Gavin sorts out both of these problems sooner rather than later, the Dubs could, depending on the draw, be vulnerable in the quarters.

  7. Barring complacency, Mayo should win the province, thats not a huge stretch for them I think.
    So, if Cillian does return for the quarterfinal, he better be prepared to be hit, he’s a strong bucko but everyone knows about the shoulder. Would jh have any plan on nipping those hits in the bud?

  8. Saw dubs on telly and agree thatmidfield is a big problem area if cluxtons kickouts are closed down. I think dublin are vunerable this year in knockout stages and defenders need to defend but there is an all irelandin that team. But not this year…..

  9. Just reading a few quotes from Horan in the Western, his main message is to stop the talk of bank holiday weekend football.

    I’m guilty of it myself tbh, maybe we should take it one step at a time, its just i find it hard to see how we can be beat in Connacht, i don’t think i’ve ever been as confident of a provincial title.I’m sure the players will stay grounded though and take the Ross challenge seriously.

    Theres just a slight hint of an air if optimism among the Roscommon faithful , was speaking to a couple of them this evening, ”we’re actually looking forward to it burke, not as handy as ye think, this time” . They alluded to the 2011 game in the hyde, they should of won it, the Galway game last year was a bad day at the office and they went on to beat Armagh after that to prove the Galway game was not a true reflection as to where they were at. They beat Cavan in the last league game , uo in Cavan too.

    Kilbride scares me, he was majestic in club final, very effective , the high ball supply will be the tactic used i’m sure of it, especially with this been a bit of a weakness for Mayo.

  10. Sean Burke dont be scared, 2 words, Ger Cafferky,
    Mayo sud prob stay grounded and im not saying we will definitely win Connaught, but if we dont it will be the mother of f**k ups!

  11. Sean, they do that every year. They were confident coming to Castlebar in 09 as well after a win over Leitrim. That didn’t end too well for them.

    The Ros game is all about Mayo. If we approach it with the right mindset i.e. every player working hard to close them down and then taking our chances when they come, we will be comfortable enough I feel. however, if we go in thinking it’ll be a stroll, we could leave ourselves open. I think Horan will do a good job of keeping the lads focused though, we haven’t been guilty on that front since the near miss in London two years ago.

  12. car trouble kept me out of ballina on monday , a shame as i wont see mayo in the flesh now this year unless we hit croke park , but of course i am very hopeful that they will,
    i did have the consolation that evening of watching the kiltane girls u-12 take on knockmore in the go-games on a sun drenched doohoma banks.

    i think rosscommon wil be a big ask but i expect us to step up and deliver. then bring on london in the final !

  13. I disagree Roger and don’t understand why you or anyone would think Ross would be a big ask for this, in form, Mayo team.
    The facts are, they have done nothing recently and achieved nothing recently to suggest anything other than Mayo to win, pulling up.
    That’s not to over-look the Rossies, for we do have to play the game and anything can happen, but the facts and form speak otherwise. As Tom said above, it would be the mother of all F ups to lose to Ross.

  14. Sean those confident rossies you found must be the rare few? i live close to the border and i haven’t met one that is confident they know very well they are up against a side that are better than them and the fact they haven’t won in McHale park since 1986. Donie Shine scores more for Roscommon than Kilbride does and Shine won’t play in this game i’m also hearing two of their best defenders are struggling to be fit for this game.

    Nothing to be scared about Mayo should win this game pulling up.

  15. People in rosscommon are very chirpy! And fair dues they have a right, they are the home of the all Ireland club champions! But I’m afraid that’s where their inspired optimism should finish. Regardless of how you look at this game, mayo will be focused and I’d expect a focused result! Not gonna say what that is but lets just say rosscommon won’t get much joy from our backs, midfield I’d be very confident of dominating, and our forwards are better than their backs! Oh and they’ve no recognised stopper in between the sticks! Their a division 3 team and weather depending I think we will treat them like a division 3 team! The reason I say weather permitting is its a great leveller as shown in the previous 2 Connacht finals!

  16. In fairness the weather was nice and sunny in last years Connacht final and it took a while to put away Sligo a division 3. Mayo will win this game and the Connacht title doesn’t matter by how much because it didn’t matter the last two years. It’s all about peaking in August,September.

  17. Exactly, if the weather is right on the day and Mayo are tuned in , Mayo should win. The difference in fitness levels of Mayo and themselves is pretty substantial.That and the pressure the Ross defenders will be under when defending and when trying to clear their lines is not something they are used to seeing in div.3 of the league. Kildare showed them a glimpse of the pace of division 1 football in a recent challenge game.
    All the talk on forums is only talk, jh and co will be certain that the players are ready for the Roscommon game.
    That said, donie shine would walk onto most of the top teams so he is a man to watch for the Mayo lads at the back.

  18. Guys,

    We bloggers and supporters are influencers as much as anyone else.

    If the Mayo players keep hearing from all and sundry, and that includes us, that they are home and hosed, BEFORE a ball has been kicked, this will seep into their psyche.

    While a majority expected Mayo to win against Galway, there was so much whining that you would think JH had brought them down to Division Four. The plus here was that players weren’t getting swelled heads.

    That’s the way to keep it.

    Now, after the cocaine of one win, the mood swing has zoomed to the opposite pole. If we keep up the ‘confident’ talk the players will believe it – they are human beings not robots and James Horan will be fighting a losing battle against the pals and loose talk of the supporters.

    Cue Roscommon to take advantage of this, if Mayo are not right on the day. Evans is no mug, confidence is high after the club final, they had a fine U21 side last year and while Shine would be a loss, they have others to come in. The prize for them – beating Mayo a stroll through the final AND a guaranteed quarter final place.

    Let eternal vigilance be the watchword. Believe victory when we see it after 70 minutes.

  19. Well said catcol. Remember Sligo. They beat Mayo and Galway; tails up; Roscommon no problem in the final; didn’t turn up and were turned over.
    No team should be underestimated!!! Logic and wishful thinking doesn’t win matches.

  20. Agree with last two comments,one game at a time.Must think of Roscommon only ,as one slip can be ,end of story. We all know of teams who couldn’t be beaten, like Cork 2011, and Dublin 2012, but it happened and if we can do it maybe we should be wary of others. That said if Mayo mind frame is right we should come out on top and I think J H will look after that.

  21. I heard that the Rossies were due to play the Dubs in a challenge on Tuesday night.
    Anyone hear how it went?

  22. Roscommon should be given respect if nothing else yes we should win on paper and all I think we will but people just thinking about August if nothing else our history has taught us some valuable lessons Galway game told us nothing about ourselves a good tight game in Mchale park would be good for Connaught and mayo

  23. I see that Michael Duffy from Sligo has been appointed as referee for the Roscommon match.

    We’re just not going to be able to get away from the Duffy family!

    I think Roscommon are going to be harder to break down than Galway turned out to be, typically they are a dogged and determined side when we meet them, apart from in 2009. But a focussed Mayo team should be able to wear them down eventually.

  24. Answering my own question here. Rossies had a full team out and Dubs had just 5 of last Sunday’s team starting.
    Rosssies won by 3 points.

  25. Did you hear how they got on against Kildare 2 weeks ago? Kildare were leading bu 17 to 0 at one stage. I won’t dismiss any team but it’s tough to see where the challenge will come from. I would fancy mayos chances against division 3 or 4 any day, and more so with donie shine injured.

  26. Do not read ANYTHING into that Kildare / Roscommon challenge.
    Roscommon had a full round of club games that weekend so there was a lot of players unavailable and minding themselves.

    A better measure of the Sheepstealers if the result against Dublin. They will be no pushover and will love this confidence by Mayo and their underdog tag.

  27. Challenge games are a bit of a lottery. They are often used to try lads out in different positions and to try out things that were practiced in training.
    As BetweenThe Lines also points out, other things such as domestic fixtures can have a knock-on effect.
    From what I heard, the Dubs used all of their fringe players, so that was by no means the real Dublin either. We’ll just have to wait till the 16th to see what the Rossies can do in the heat of battle.

  28. Luigi says:
    June 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm
    Kildare won well. Don’t know the final score.

    0-23 to 0-7 it was they also drew with Limerick in a challenge.

  29. Folks………apart from a 3 in a row if we win the ‘Nestor, would that also be an overtake of Galway on the titles count……45 to 44 ??

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