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'It's not right any one player being targeted for one mistake he makes on a pitch'

Mayo star Diarmuid O’Connor has sympathy for Cork goalkeeper Anthony Casey.

Diarmuid O'Connor bags Mayo's first goal in last weekend's All-Ireland U21 final.
Diarmuid O'Connor bags Mayo's first goal in last weekend's All-Ireland U21 final.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

MAYO U21 STAR Diarmuid O’Connor has expressed sympathy for Cork goalkeeper Anthony Casey in the wake of the online abuse he suffered after conceding five goals in last Saturday’s EirGrid All-Ireland U21 football final.

Casey defended himself this week after receiving the fierce criticism and yesterday appeared on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk to discuss the issue.

O’Connor has basked in a celebratory glow this week after a brilliant win for Mayo football but admitted he was taken aback that the issue surfaced.

“To be honest, I only heard about that the other day. If someone asked me about it after the game, I wouldn’t have even noticed it.

“In fairness if you’re a keeper and you make one mistake, everyone is down on you. But me playing midfield, I’d say I made four or five mistakes but it didn’t matter.

“It’s tough, it was just one mistake. He’s human after all, I’m sure he’ll come back better and stronger after it.

“Cork are no different, they were training as much as we were. It’s not right any one player being targeted for one mistake he makes on a pitch.”

O’Connor savoured the celebrations as he added an U21 medal to his 2013 minor triumph and capped off a brilliant underage career.

The Mayo team celebrate in the dressing room Mayo players celebrating last Saturday's win Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“I think just being a few years older, you just realise a bit more what exactly you’ve achieved and what exactly it means to everyone.

“There’s a lot of new lads in as well since the 2013 team but the majority of them would have been there at minor as well. They’re just a special bunch.

“The reaction has been unbelievable but it doesn’t surprise me. I always said the Mayo supporters are the best supporters in the country.

“I think they showed it again last Saturday. The amount of them there was unbelievable. They really were like a 16th man for us on the pitch.

“The last few days, going around to different villages and the bonfires, the different homecomings, it’s just unbelievable to see what it means to people.”

O’Connor is hopeful that the triumph can help banish talk of a hoodoo afflicting Mayo football.

“There’s a lot of talk about Mayo teams in All-Ireland finals. But the majority of these lads have played in two All-Ireland finals and have won two now so.

“For myself since I’ve come in to the seniors, it’s about trying to win All-Ireland semi-final replays. My two years there, we’ve lost two replays.

“There’s a lot of lads there that will be wearing the Mayo senior jersey in the next few years.

“It will be nice going back in to training and a few of us with All-Ireland medals. Hopefully it’ll give a bit of a boost to the senior lads and show them what we can do.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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