Tuesday 21 November 2017

Conor Mortimer has 'no regrets' over Mayo exile

Conor Mortimer. Photo: Sportsfile
Conor Mortimer. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Conor Mortimer would have played in his 100th competitive game for Mayo on Sunday had he featured in Sunday's Connacht final against Sligo.

Instead, the county's record scorer was standing by his decision to leave the Mayo squad after failing to make the starting team for Sunday's Connacht final.

Mortimer was informed by telephone on Tuesday evening that he would not be starting.

As a consequence, he didn't travel to training that night, but spoke to manager James Horan by telephone yesterday when he reiterated his position that he would not be returning to the squad.

Efforts by current and former players to persuade him to relent and return failed and, last night, Mortimer tweeted that he had 'no regrets.'

The decision is a blow to Mayo, but may be one that, in time, Mortimer -- now based in Dublin where he plays his club football with Parnells -- may indeed regret.

Having battled back from a cruciate ligament operation last year, his form was good at times during the league and he surpassed Joe Corcoran's long-established record as the county's top scorer when he fired over eight points in that rout of Dublin in Castlebar at the end of March which brought his tally 14-380.

In the four games he has played since then, bringing him to 99 appearances in all, he had added another nine points.

Horan made just one change from the team that hammered Leitrim in the last round, replacing Alan Freeman with Enda Varley.

That was Mortimer's cue to depart and leave an 11-year association with the Mayo team behind him.

It is an unnecessary distraction for Horan just three days before his second successive Connacht final as Mayo manager. Mortimer is the second Mayo player to leave the squad following reserve goalkeeper Robert Hennelly, who quit two weeks ago.

In a statement, Mayo County Board confirmed Mortimer's departure due to "personal reasons."

"Conor has been a great servant to Mayo football and his contributions will live long in the hearts in Mayo people," the statement read.

"We would also like to state the door is always open for any player who is showing the skills, commitment, ability, and passion for Mayo GAA now and in the future."

Irish Independent

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