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Sunday 17 December 2017

Looking back no solution to Mayo

Diarmuid O'Connor. Pic: Sportsfile
Diarmuid O'Connor. Pic: Sportsfile

You never get used to the empty feeling that accompanies an All-Ireland final defeat.

So reckons Diarmuid O'Connor who, even at 22, is already painfully aware of the sensation after suffering back-to-back final defeats to Dublin.

For his more seasoned team-mates - survivors such as brother Cillian who was there in 2013 and '12 and, in some cases, even earlier - September trauma has become a recurring theme.

"You never really get used to that feeling," admitted O'Connor. "There's nothing we can do about it now; we'll just get back to the training pitch and back to the gym, train harder and do any little bits we can for the year to come.

"You never really get used to the feeling, it's kind of hard to get over it - but you just have to put it to one side and move on."

The positives, as O'Connor outlines, are the return of manager Stephen Rochford for a third tilt at Sam - and the likelihood that there'll be few if any retirements once the new season gets up and running.

Debrief

"We had a debrief there last weekend ... it was the first time we met up since the game," O'Connor outlined, speaking at yesterday's launch of the GAA's 5 Star Centres initiative for primary schools.

"He (Rochford) explained he was staying on and his plans, so it was great to hear he was staying. I don't think there was any fear he would leave.

"The lads are always optimistic, they are always in a good mood and the lads have each other's backs. As I said, everyone is experienced now to get over it and park it to one side and just move on. There's no point in looking back now.

"There's been no talk of any changes so far and that's good to hear. We'll see what happens in the next few months but, as far as I know, everyone is sticking together."

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