Former midfielder Brady rates the Ballintubber forward as the greatest he has ever seen play for the county. Asked why O’Connor is not getting the credit he deserves, he replied: “Because he’s a Mayo man, that’s the God’s honest truth.”
Brady added: “The whole question was have they got a marquee forward? Now everyone is seeing that he is a marquee forward. He carries himself well and he’s a role model on and off the pitch. For me he is the best Mayo footballer I have ever seen. I have played with some of the heroes of the past but I see this guy as the ultimate team player and he is in the top two or three players in the country.”
Meanwhile, former Dublin captain Ciaran Whelan says the GAA must act to address the alarmingly low amount of time the ball is in play in Gaelic football. Whelan was elaborating on his Sunday Game comments where he felt Pádraig Hughes could have added more time at the end of the Mayo-Galway Connacht SFC semi-final.
“People will say there’s going to be loads of shemozzles throughout the game but one of the interesting things we’ve been looking at in recent weeks is the amount of time the ball is in play in a match. It’s actually frightening. It actually spends half of the 70 minutes out of play.”
He added: “The referee should realise, ‘Listen, I’ve added three or four minutes’ but that doesn’t mean he can’t play five minutes and justify it by the slowing down. If you go back years it was up to the referee and he let the game flow and we waited for the final whistle. Now it goes up, ‘two minutes’ and it seems to be two minutes or three minutes and it’s not helping some of the teams that are chasing the game because the nature of the opposition is they’ll slow it down.”
Michael Darragh Macauley admitted he can’t blame his small injury setbacks this year for losing his starting place. The 2013 footballer of the year sawDenis Bastick and Brian Fenton chosen ahead of him for the Longford game.
“I always want to be starting but I don’t think I had too much argument.
“The two lads have been playing super and deserve their spots in midfield so it’s going to be a battle to get my place back. Jim (Gavin) has shown that he plays players by form and that the lads aren’t picked on reputation. That’s all you really want from a manager. Gavin confirmed yesterday Ger Brennan is close to a return to action while Paul Mannion may link up with the squad later this year after he returns from travelling later this month.