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Despite Injury, Cillian O'Connor Is Still Influencing Mayo Games

Despite Injury, Cillian O'Connor Is Still Influencing Mayo Games

Though he can't take part in the action on the pitch, Cillian O'Connor is still having an influence on Mayo games.

O'Connor suffered an Achilles injury during Mayo's Allianz Football League match against Clare in June which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

Mayo manager James Horan subsequently said that the forward would have a "huge role to play" this summer. And that is the case according to teammate Aidan O'Shea.

"He's doing a bit of work with Ryan (O'Donoghue) on the frees," says O'Shea.

"He always would have anyway. Ryan would have been learning from him prior to the injury. They would have done a lot of free-taking together. That would have been beneficial in advance of what's happened.

"He's also just helping in terms of video analysis, spotting any trends, things that may help us on the pitch.

"Then it's about being a good teammate around the dressing room and at training sessions. It's great to have him around and involved.

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"He's such a smart, intelligent footballer. Any nuggets he can share to the wider group, or on an individual basis, can only be beneficial."

aidan o'shea cillian o'connor role mayo

Mayo Captain Aidan O’Shea, pictured in Irish Family run tech-repairs group PAIR Mobile, who are celebrating their 10th birthday. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall

On Sunday - despite the absence of the man who has been one of their key forwards for nearly a deade - Mayo won their 48th Connacht title with victory over Galway.

"There was huge disappointment, but there wasn't a sense of mourning," says O'Shea about O'Connor's injury.

"Cillian would be the first to say that it's 'next man up', and who can come in and add to the team.

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"The whole idea of having a squad is that there's somebody there.

"We're still acutely aware that Cillian is a fantastic footballer, top scorer in the championship of all-time. Any team would miss Cillian, but sportspeople are resilient. They're straight away looking to see how we can get better.

"It's not about one player coming in or Ryan taking the frees. It's greater than that. Everybody needs to take responsibility. We've had injuries before, and we've had to cope. Cillian is a brilliant influence on the pitch, but he's also a brilliant influence off it.

"He's been key off the pitch, and will continue to be so. Sport can be cruel, but there's not much time to wallow in that stuff. You've got to pick up the baton again, and go with whoever you've got."

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See Also: 'Páidí Ó Sé Rang Me 50 Times, I Hadn't The Balls To Pick Up The Phone'

aidan o'shea cillian o'connor role mayo

PJ Browne
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