Diarmuid O'Connor hopes hamstrings won't haunt him again
By John Harrington
Mayo’s Diarmuid O’Connor is determined to do all he can in the coming weeks to ensure his 2018 campaign isn’t hampered by the sort of hamstring injuries that have dogged him in the past.
Over the course of the last two seasons he’s been side-lined regularly by recurring hamstring strains, and this year he was limited to a substitute’s role for Mayo in the All-Ireland Final against Dublin after tweaking a hamstring again in the semi-final against Kerry.
So, his priority in the off-season has been on prehab and doing all he can to strengthen his hamstrings for the League and Championship matches to come next year.
“It was very frustrating this year before the All-Ireland Final because it's something that has bothered me in the past as well, with my hamstring,” O’Connor told GAA.ie at today's launch of the GAA 5 Star Centres.
“It's just one of these things that can happen. I was fortunate enough to have a brilliant physio team around me and they did everything they could to get me right.
“I was meeting them two or three times a day some days and they were just all brilliant to get me back just in time for the Final, thankfully.
“In the weeks and months to come I'll be doing all I can to ensure that doesn't happen again next year.”
O’Connor came on for Seamus O’Shea after 50 minutes of the All-Ireland Final against Dublin and admits the nature of Mayo’s agonising one-point defeat was hard to take at the time.
But he’s confident this group of Mayo players will once again bounce back like they have so often in the past and challenge once more for the Sam Maguire Cup in 2018.
“You never really get over the disappointment but I think you have to park it to one side,” he said. “We've met up once as a team since the game and just laid out the plans for the year ahead.
“It's parked now and you just have to move on. I think everyone is experienced enough to be able to do that and get focused on the year ahead because there's no point looking back at this stage.
“Stephen (Rochford) is a great manager and it's great that he's stayed on. I had never any doubts that he wasn't going to stay on, but it's great to get the confirmation because he has a lot of experience now and is an excellent manager.
“Every year brings something new. There'll be new ideas and new players in to keep everyone on their toes. All our focus is on the year ahead and not the year gone by.”