The Ballintubber forward dislocated his shoulder attempting to catch the ball in the 11th minute of Sunday’s semi-final clash with Tyrone and was rushed to the Mater Hospital for immediate treatment. It is the third time the two-time Young Footballer of the Year suffered the same injury in the past 11 months.
Typically an injury of that nature requires 12 weeks’ recovery, but O’Connor’s chances have been ironically improved because the tendon, muscular and ligament damage done on the previous two occasions had stretched the shoulder.
The Mayo medical team will be charged with assessing O’Connor’s ability to lift his hand above his head following intensive rehab to see if he is able to play any part in the county’s second successive final.
Medically though, he only has a 10% chance of being successful and the chance of repeating the injury are quite high. No matter what happens O’Connor will undergo surgery after the season to provide a long-term solution.
James Horan said: “I had a talk with the doc and it didn’t look good the way he fell.”
O’Connor has been Mayo’s top scorer this season with 6-14 and his loss would be a huge blow to Horan’s side as they go in search of their first All-Ireland since 1951.
There is better news regarding goalkeeper David Clarke. The Ballina Stephenites clubman returned to light training ahead of schedule last week after his hamstring tore off the bone in the Connacht semi-final win over Roscommon.
Rob Hennelly, who has stepped in for Clarke and his injured colleague Kenneth O’Malley, tweeted yesterday: “Great being back in work today and looking forward to training this week.
“Still hard to believe I’m back, very grateful!”