Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor is ruthless and in the shape of his life, says Peter Canavan

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor is ruthless and in the shape of his life, says Peter Canavan

December 10, 2020

Cillian O’Connor continues to smash records in his remarkable intercounty career.

The Ballintubber sharp-shooter’s haul of 4-9 against Tipperary on Sunday was more than any player has ever scored in a single championship game, propelling Mayo to another All-Ireland final.

Peter Canavan was hugely impressed with the 28-year-old.

“What a performance. 4-9 and absolutely ruthless,” the Sky Sports pundit said on Inside The Game.

“He’s in the shape of his life to begin with. He said the fact there was the lockdown, there wasn’t games so it was a chance for him to recuperate. And he’s managed to do that. Apart from physically, what it has done is it has given him a hunger. This is the case with a lot of players. The fact that they have missed out on playing competitive football for months, something they are not accustomed to.

“His second goal was the one I liked the most – he was able to use his body strength. A wee nudge on the Tipperary defender, which was sheer upper-body strength.

“Every time Mayo attacked, he was hungry for it. Regardless of what the score was, he wanted the ball.

“You only have to look at his stats to appreciate his performance. He only had 12 possessions in the game, but 4-3 from play!

“In the All-Ireland final against Dublin, he might not get much more than 12 [possessions], but if he gets half the return, Mayo supporters will be delighted.

“It was one of the best performances you are every likely to see in Croke Park in an All-Ireland semi-final, what a day to do it.”

It was one of the best performances you are every likely to see in Croke Park.

Canavan was impressed by O’Connor’s contribution

Overall, O’Connor continues to make waves in his Mayo career, and he’s not done yet.

“I was well aware of the quality and importance of Cillian O’Connor to this Mayo side. But when you see those stats in front of you, it leaves you gob-smacked. 30 goals and 329 points. That is some kicking,” Canavan continued.

“They haven’t won an All-Ireland medal. The reason why they have got there, why they have won so many Connachts, why they have got to so many All-Ireland finals is because they have a free-taker to begin with. I know a few counties struggle with this.

“Dublin a few years back, some people would have said they carried Dean Rock. That’s far from the case now because he is a superb player in his own right apart from frees. But they would have carried him because of his free-taking ability, and simply he didn’t miss.

“Cillian O’Connor is in that ilk, and is a vital cog in this Mayo side.”

Watch the full discussion on Inside The Game at 9pm Wednesday on Sky Sports Arena.

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