Mayo can compete for league, says Cillian O’Connor

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, for eir sport’s announcement of details of its Allianz Leagues coverage. Picture: Morgan Treacy

Mayo forward Cillian O’Connor has insisted they can be seriously competitive in the league despite many of their players being based in Dublin.

Of the 21 players that competed for Mayo in the 2017 All-Ireland final, 11 of them were based in the east for last year’s League when they narrowly avoided relegation.

Colleague Aidan O’Shea admitted ahead of last year’s campaign that a title success was probably out of the question. O’Shea said in late 2017: “Is it possible for us to win a league title? I’m not quite sure with our situation. It’s a matter of tapering it and, to be honest, staying up.”

Speaking at yesterday’s launch of eir Sports coverage of the league, O’Connor estimated that a fifth of this year’s panel are based in Dublin.

However, he said this shouldn’t prevent them from pushing hard for a first League title since 2001 under new boss James Horan.

It’s just a challenge with the way it is,” said O’Connor. “But it’s something that I don’t think should stop you from being competitive. It’s just an obstacle, a little challenge. Counties have different stuff that they have to deal with.

“I think we are better off focusing on how we can organise it to have the least impact on our performance. I remember under James before getting to a league final, against Cork in 2012, so we’ve shown before we can do it. The split would have been the same that year too. So it can be done, it can be managed. Maybe it’s not absolutely ideal but it’s not an excuse for losing a game.”

Mayo begin their campaign at home to Roscommon on Saturday week in Castlebar. O’Connor won’t make it after undergoing knee surgery in December and should be back training at some stage next month.

More on this topic

Signs Mayo getting the old heavy metal back in tune

Mayo were back... until a very Mayo thing happened

Alan Dillon warns Mayo need leaders for Newry ‘mission’

Mayo mourns the 'Flying Doc'

More in this Section

Referees chief Massimo Busacca accepts VAR will ‘never be perfect’

Liverpool close on Dutch youngster Van Den Berg

Kurt Walker secures 5th Irish medal at European Games

Manchester United close to completing Aaron Wan-Bissaka deal


Lifestyle

Review: Lauryn Hill proves she still has that thing

Darina Allen: A celebration of Irish produce

Gone to pot: Leading psychiatrist on the cannabis debate

Why London is the perfect hunting ground for antique lovers this month

More From The Irish Examiner