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'Conor was not wanted in the team' - Mortimer's family blame Horan

In a statement read out on radio last night, they criticised the Mayo senior football manager’s decision to overlook the forward.

Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

THE FAMILY OF Mayo footballer Conor Mortimer have criticised James Horan’s management style and his decision to continually ignore the player’s club form.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed by the Mayo County Board that their all-time leading scorer had walked out on the senior football panel due to personal reasons.

The 28-year-old made a substitute appearance in the Connacht SFC semi-final win over Leitrim and was again only named on the bench for Sunday’s final against Sligo, a decision which many, including former manager John Maughan, found hard to comprehend.

And on Midwest Radio’s Sports Talkshop last night, a statement was read out on behalf of Mortimer’s family, who believe he has been mistreated by boss Horan.

“Conor lived for Mayo football all his life,” the statement, which appeared in this morning’s Irish Examiner, read.

“He began his inter-county career in the Ted Webb Competition and suffered numerous injuries over the years. Both of his brothers, Kenneth and Trevor, played for the county also and suffered injuries, like Conor over the years. They are 100% behind his decision.

“The family feel that Conor, Kenneth and Trevor owe nothing to Mayo football. Conor is a colourful character and made many friends and some enemies over the years while playing. Conor was out of football for 12 months last year with a knee injury.The manager James Horan never contacted him to see how he was coming along.

“When he returned to football, he was playing super football for his club Shrule/Glencorrib. James Horan was notified of a game he would be playing in, but did not attend.

The family feel that Conor wasn’t wanted in the team. He says that every time Conor was dropped James Horan told him he had a new plan, in that, he had found two goalscoring forwards. However, the Mortimer family feel that plan has not materialised.

“Conor was playing well in A vs B games in training of late and two former Mayo managers saw him and can’t understand why he wasn’t picked.

“He scored 8 points against Dublin in the league in Castlebar and was man of the match in that game, which was well deserved. He was dropped two weeks later for the Kerry game and only played for 10-15 minutes of it.

“He was dropped again from the starting 15 for the Leitrim game because of this plan referred to by the manager. He is currently fourth choice as a corner forward and it has destroyed his confidence. He wasn’t happy with the way football was being played in the Mayo camp.”

They added that other players from Shrule/Glencorrib have consistently been overlooked by Horan in recent years: ”When the previous manager was in charge, there were four Shrule/Glencorrib players on the panel. Now there are none. Mark Ronaldson was another example from last season. He was playing well and was dropped from the panel.

In the last seven or eight Connacht finals that Mayo were involved in, Conor was top scorer in six of them. He is the all-time leading scorer in Mayo. He feels he has another three years of top-level football in him, but has made his decision and his family are behind him.

“Football was his life and he was never found wanting. He always made himself available to the media, but now all he wants is his privacy and integrity protected.

“His family are extremely happy with his achievements and are very proud of him and have always been 100% behind him and remain so.”

Horan has insisted that the door remains open for the self-exiled corner forward, but a reconciliation seems extremely unlikely after the stinging statement.

This morning, Mortimer (@ConMort) himself tweeted: “Mayo football is bigger than any player always has and always will be so can people just concentrate on getting behind the team for the game on Sunday. I have, even as a player, always been a huge supporter and will be again this weekend.”

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Ben Blake

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