EYES ON THE PRIZE Tommy Conroy is pictured in action during the 2013 All-Ireland Minor Final victory over Tyrone at Croke Park. Pic: Sportsfile
MAYO are going to upset the odds and win next Saturday’s All-Ireland under 21 football final, according to one of the county’s all-conquering Minor team of 2013.
Tommy ‘Goals’ Conroy from Kiltane, who was ruled out of Mayo’s under 21 championship campaign this season after injuring his hip in a trial match at the end of last year, believes that favourites Cork can be stopped.
The talented attacker — who was part of a brilliant Mayo minor full-forward line three years ago with Liam Irwin and the late Darragh Doherty — thinks that Michael Solan’s Mayo squad has what it takes to get the job done.
“I knew they’d be there or thereabouts before the championship started, and I think they’ll win on Saturday,” Conroy told The Mayo News. “I think they’re a good price too, and I’ll definitely be having a few pound on them.
“It’ll be tight and tense, but I think we’ll win it. The boys have been in this position before and they know what it takes.”
The 20 year-old strike forward also missed out on last year’s under 21 championship with Mayo after having surgery on a hip problem.
Having completed his rehab programme, and returning to action with Kiltane last summer, he looked set to play a major part in Mayo’s under 21 adventure in 2016.
That was until fate intervened again a few months ago.
“I hurt it at a trial game with the under 21s,” he explained.
“I just turned awkwardly on my hip and knocked it out again. I had the operation done in February and they told me I was looking at about ten weeks on the sidelines from there. “The problem with my hip is down to the way I walked really since I was young. I kind of walked with one leg turned in a little and that meant my hip was clicking quite a bit. It had to be fixed.
“I think it feels stronger now that it did after the first one.
“I was back walking after a week or two and I’ve gone back running in the last few weeks.
“I’ve done all the gym work and I’m back now doing some running on my own,” he added. “It’ll be the club championship anyway by the time I’m back on the field with Kiltane. I’m a bit more cautious this time than I was the first time round.”
Conroy has only seen one of Mayo’s championship games in the flesh so far (the Connacht Final victory over Roscommon), but he is planning to make the trip to Ennis next weekend.
He declined an invitation from Michael Solan and his management team to be an ‘unofficial’ member of the Mayo panel as he recovered from his hip operation, but admits that he’s still in close contact with many of his former team-mates.
“I’m leaving them at it, I don’t want to be in on top of them,” he said. “But I’m still part of a Whats App group with the lads, and I’m hoping to make the trip to Ennis.
“I’m obviously very disappointed not to be part of the panel but I’m absolutely delighted for the lads.
“It’s a very tight group. The lads are very all very close, we’re great friends, and that stands to you when you go out on the pitch.”
Off the field, many of Tommy Conroy’s plans have been put on hold due to his two hip operations but he has an interest in joining the Gardai.
“I’m only young, so we’ll see what happens,” he smiles.
Right now his main priority is supporting Mayo next weekend and sharing the day with his good friends.
“Cork have good forwards but I think we’ve more leaders than them,” he offers.
“A lot of people have been saying that Mayo were lucky to get past Roscommon and Dublin, but if we’re in a game with five or ten minutes to go then we’ve always got a chance.”