Returning Mortimer taken aback by economic crisis

MAYO forward Conor Mortimer has admitted that Ireland’s economic crisis has left him stunned after returning home from a stint abroad.

Mortimer, a Sports Science graduate from Dublin City University, is on the hunt for employment and has also applied for a Masters as he contemplates furthering his studies.

The Shrule/Glencorrib clubman admitted: “I didn’t realise things were as bad. I didn’t have to think about work when I was in college for the last few years but the situation isn’t great.

“It’s like anything – you have to be patient, keep looking and hopefully something will turn up. I’ll keep training away and as a footballer, health is wealth.”

Mortimer, 27, and his travelling companion Alan Dillon returned to training last week, boosting Mayo manager John O’Mahony’s options towards the business end of the NFL campaign.

Dillon declared that he is ‘more driven than ever’ after a four month break from the inter-county grind.

Dillon and Mortimer have been travelling around Australia, New Zealand and South Africa since last October but the two talented forwards touched down in Ireland again last week.

“I’m going to have to work hard for the next three or four weeks to get my eye in, work on my sharpness, my handling, and to get used to the new rules, especially the handpass,” explained Dillon (27).

“But we’ll see what happens. March is going to be very busy, very competitive. We have four games and I think Johnno is going to need his full squad to choose from. Between injuries and suspensions I might get an opportunity and, if I do, I’ll do my best.

“I’m probably more driven this year to be honest,” he added. “When you come home you realise how lucky you are to be part of an inter-county set-up. You have space and freedom when you’re away but you realise what you’re missing too. It was a real breath of fresh air to get away from it all.”

Dillon, an All Star in 2006, could feature in next Sunday’s high-profile clash at McHale Park, Castlebar. He took part in an ‘A v B’ game with Mayo last weekend and also lined out with his club, Ballintubber, in a secondary league match.

Meanwhile, Mayo manager John O’Mahony is putting the trauma of a weekend car crash behind him as he prepares for the visit of Pay Gilroy’s Dublin. The accident took place last Saturday evening while the 56 years-old TD was on constituency work. However, despite being ‘shaken’, O’Mahony said he was ‘feeling fine’.

He also confirmed that Mark Ronaldson’s CCCC hearing had not yet been heard at Croke Park. The Shrule/Glencorrib forward had been due to have his case dealt with last week, but a ‘breakdown in communication’ meant that the hearing did not go ahead.

“It’s very much up in the air at the moment,” admitted O’Mahony. “We’re hoping that the hearing will go ahead this week. If it’s not heard this week, Mark would be eligible to play against Dublin. But if the hearing goes ahead this week, and his proposed suspension is upheld, he will be out for four weeks from the FBD final. So, it’s important we get the matter resolved.”

However, Trevor Mortimer will be available for selection next weekend as his four-week suspension after being sent off against Galway expires next Saturday night.

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