Gaelic Football

Tuesday 22 July 2014

I should have gone for goal in All-Ireland, admits Mayo's Cillian O'Connor

Colm Keys

Published 27/11/2013|22:22

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8 April 2013; In advance of the Allianz Football League semi-finals players from all four semi-finalists Dublin, Kildare, Tyrone and Mayo were in Croke Park today as part of the GAAs promotion of the Allianz Leagues. In attendance is Cillian OConnor, Mayo. Dublin take on Mayo, while Tyrone take on Kildare in the Division 1 semi-finals of the Allianz Football League on Sunday 14th April. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Mayo's Cillian O'Connor

Mayo's Cillian O'Connor has admitted he is still feeling some torment from his decision to put that late close-range free over the bar in the All-Ireland football final instead of throwing "caution to the wind" and going for a last-gasp goal that would have snatched victory away from Dublin.

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O'Connor made the decision to take a point to reduce the deficit to the minimum after being told by referee Joe McQuillan that there were still 30 seconds left to play. But McQuillan's clock was ticking as O'Connor went through his usual routine with the assumption that the 30 seconds would be incorporated after Stephen Cluxton's kick-out.

Over nine weeks on, O'Connor, who is recovering from surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder, acknowledges it was a mix-up for which McQuillan isn't culpable and that he would do things differently if he could do it again.

"If I could go back now knowing that the game would be blown from the restart, obviously I would have thrown caution to the wind and tried to go for the goal," he said. "But I thought there might be a passage of play.

"My understanding was that there would be another little bit of time and if we had maybe won the kick-out and scored an equaliser it would have looked a good decision."

O'Connor claims McQuillan told three players -- himself, Donie Vaughan and Barry Moran -- that there were 30 seconds remaining. "It was rolling all the time with people in the way and me taking my time and doing my routine."

Irish Independent

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