Cillian O'Connor. INPHO/James Crombie

O'Connor targets spring 2014 comeback for Mayo from shoulder surgery

The Mayo forward endured a difficult year battling a shoulder injury.

CILLIAN O’CONNOR IS targeting a spring 2014 comeback for Mayo after undergoing surgery six weeks ago to repair the shoulder that hindered his progress throughout this season.

“I was glad to get it out of the way, get it over with and start looking ahead. I had it in Santry Sports Clinic.

“The expert advice was to get the surgery as quick as possible just to allow for the longest possible time to heal, to get back as early as possible. I’ll be targeting mid March or April.”

O’Connor revealed that he was cleared to play in the All-Ireland final despite damaging it at the semi-final stage against Tyrone. Yet he admitted that it was not ideal preparation for the game.

“The first week after I was fairly pessimistic. I didn’t think I’d be able to play to be honest. I said will do everything in my power anyway. So I started intense rehab a couple of times a day.

I was cleared to play. The risk was assessed and I was deemed fit to play. I took a small bit of a gamble but it was looked at by the experts and decided to play.

“You convince yourself that you’re going playing 100% and it’s not going to be an issue. The question is always there if I’d two or three weeks of full contact, would it have had a more positive impact.

“I tried to keep the head down. Of course, everyone I met was asking would I be playing, would I not. Naturally enough, the same if I was a supporter, I’d be wondering.

“I spent a good bit of time in Dublin working in the lead up so that helped a lot. If I wasn’t working I was with the physio. It was mainly my family I was around and they wouldn’t be bothering me about that. So I tried to keep the head down but it’s easier said than done.”

Forward Planning

O’Connor is still optimistic about Mayo’s fortunes looking ahead to the 2014 season.

“You can’t carry baggage beyond Christmas. You really need to zone in and focus on next year.  I’d prefer to think that our age profile is pretty good, our strength and conditioning from the last few years has been good.

“From talking to the lads, I know their mental strength is pretty good too. There’s probably teams that would like to be in our position. I’m positive for the year coming.”

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