Mayo's Cillian O'Connor gives short shrift to paper talk

He feels the panel's focus is fully aimed at the task at hand as he told Newstalk's Oisin Langan

Cillian O'Connor, Mayo,

Cillian O’Connor of Mayo in attendance at Croke Park for eir's official launch of the 2017 GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship. Match day clips from all games will be available on eir social media channels throughout the Championship ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Mayo footballer Cillian O'Connor is taking no notice of remarks by former Dublin backroom team member Fergus Connolly.

In an interview with Paul Kimmage in The Sunday Independent, Connolly was quoted as saying, "Write this down! Put it in block capitals! 'AS LONG AS I’M ALIVE MAYO WILL NEVER WIN AN ALL-IRELAND.'"

Speaking to Newstalk Sports broadcaster Oisin Langan at the launch of eir's 2017 Championship coverage, O'Connor was adamant about the amount of focus he and his team-mates put into their quest to finally bring Sam Maguire back to Mayo.

"There's been plenty of criticism levelled at us over the years. There have been times when we have taken a lot of flak," he said.

"Genuinely in the group, we do analysis on ourselves, we do our training five or six nights a week, we do recovery sessions, we have group discussions. We try and channel as much of our football time together into improving and the tiny gains that we can make in different areas.

"And if reading articles or reading papers was going to help us get an edge, we'd be doing it but we don't believe that it does. So on our time off from football, the last thing we want to be doing is talking or listening to other football stuff."   

He added that Connolly was entitled to his opinion but that in his view, all Mayo panel members are fully focused on the task at hand. 

Unlike most recent championships when they were going into Connacht as reigning Nestor Cup holders, Mayo had a relatively early start to the campaign this time, facing Sligo in their Connacht opener on May 21st and O'Connor feels it is a positive to get the ball rolling before June. 

"In years gone by when we've had late starts in June, you might be going through footage of a game eight weeks ago or seven weeks ago or you turn on the television and you end up watching all the other provinces and all the other games and you have that sense of anxiousness," he said, adding that "it's nice to be able to channel your energy a bit earlier in the summer into championship".

Galway beat Mayo in last year's Connacht semi finals en route to claiming their first provincial since 2008 and O'Connor is relishing the renewal of a rivalry as both sides prepare to clash again at the same stage of competition on June 11th at Pearse Stadium.

Cillian O’Connor of Mayo was speaking to Oisin at eir's official launch of the 2017 GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship. Match day clips from all games will be available on eir social media channels throughout the Championship.