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O’Connor reflects on ‘disappointing’ season

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DOWN AND OUT A dejected Diarmuid O’Connor leaves the field after Mayo exited the All-Ireland SFC at the quarter-final following their defeat to Kerry. Pic: Sportsfile

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Oisín McGovern

MAYO star Diarmuid O’Connor has described the Westerners’ trophyless 2022 season as ‘disappointing’.
Speaking exclusively to The Mayo News last weekend, the 27 year-old said that injuries, a lack of consistency and an inability to take chances were among the reasons for Mayo’s significant league and championship defeats to Galway and Kerry.
The two-time ‘Young Footballer of The Year’ was speaking after he helped Ballintubber to beat Ballinrobe in Division 1B of the Mayo Senior Football League last Sunday.
“It was a disappointing finish [to the year],” he said.
“Any time you’re lucky enough to wear the green and red it’s very enjoyable. We felt good and we felt confident, as we do for every game. We just came up short at the end.
“I know it’s disappointing the way it finished [against Kerry], but another day we take some of our chances in that game and we’re right in it, and the whole year is flipped upside down.
“We can’t just look at the results. We reflected a few days after the game and that was it, you just need to look at the facts and learn from them and improve and move on.
“It’s all about the club now,” he added. “As I said, I took a few days to reflect on the game and once we get back in next year we’ll reflect on it again, but right now it’s all about Ballintubber.”
Mayo exited the 2022 All-Ireland championship at the hands of All-Ireland finalists Kerry at the quarter-final stage, while they also came up well short against Jack O’Connor’s charges in the Division 1 league final.
Diarmuid O’Connor said that several factors contributed to Mayo failing to win a trophy in 2022, which was the only year they failed to do so under James Horan’s stewardship.
“It’s hard to say. There is always 100 little things, but as I said you can’t just look at the result,” he said.
“I know the performances weren’t the best, but there was glimpses that we just weren’t consistent enough.
“In the very last game against Kerry we had chances when it was in the melting pot. Now we probably didn’t deserve the win in the end, but if we had a few of those chances the narrative is a different story altogether.
“It was just disappointing that we never got a run going together. It’s hard to put the finger on it; a couple of injuries, just a lack of consistency, and not clinical enough up front taking our chances.
“As I said, I’ve already moved on from it now and I am just looking forward to the club season.”
O’Connor, who works as a secondary school teacher in Castlebar, and kicked seven for Mayo this season, described James Horan’s contribution to Mayo football as ‘massive’.
“James took Mayo to a new level,” said O’Connor, who captained the county to a first league title in 18 years in 2019.
“He gave me my debut back in 2014 and I owe a lot to him, as I do all my managers. He’s been great, I think all the lads would say the same. He took us to a new level, now we just have to push on and go one step further.”
O’Connor also said he was ‘confident’ about Ballintubber’s prospects for 2022.
The 2019 county champions were without Cillian O’Connor, Stephen O’Malley, Bryan Walsh, Michael Plunkett, Brian Murphy, Alan Dillon and Damien Coleman for Sunday’s win over Ballinrobe. Former Mayo panellist Jason Gibbons also withdrew with a hamstring injury late in the first half.
“We’ve a great squad, we’re always confident. We need to improve on some of our last few performances. Even today we got going in spells, but if we get that consistency going, we’re always confident in what we can do.”

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