FORMER Young Footballer of the Year, Diarmuid O’Connor, is the man to fill Tom Parsons’ shoes in the middle of the field for Mayo.
That’s according to O’Connor’s Ballintubber team-mate, Alan Dillon, who feels that the 23 year-old is ready to take on more responsibility for Mayo in the weeks ahead.
“Not alone will Mayo miss Tom’s presence on the field and in games, but they’ll miss his presence in the group as well because he’s got a huge influence,” explained Dillon.
“But Tom’s absence also presents the likes of Diarmuid O’Connor with a great opportunity to make his mark. He’s only 23, a box to box player with huge aerobic capacity, and maybe this is his time to become a big player for Mayo around the middle. “He certainly would be my preference. He carried the Under-21s at times around the middle in 2016 and I’d love to see him in a more central role for Mayo.”
Dillon, who played senior football for Mayo for 15 seasons, also feels that Stephen Rochford should explore the option of either springing Andy Moran off the bench, or perhaps starting the Footballer of the Year and bringing him back on again for the closing stages of games.
“Whether or not to start Andy is a difficult one to call” offered Dillon.
“For me, he starts as your main ball-winner inside, but I also think it’s vitally important that Mayo finish with their best team. Do you look at something like taking him off and bringing him on again?
“Andy and Cillian are very similar players, and they look for the same type of ball inside. Cillian flourished in that role against Limerick.
“James Durcan and [Evan] Rego’ [Regan] give you something totally different.
“I think it’s something that management need to weigh up very carefully.”