After having to miss out on captaining Mayo in the championship for the first time against New York, due to injury, Diarmuid O'Connor is looking forward to getting back on the field tomorrow night against Roscommon.
The new Mayo captain has had as good a start to his tenure as the leader on the field as he could have hoped, with Mayo winning the league title in the Spring. Getting back to the action on the field is something he is looking forward to, as he told the Mayo Advertiser: "It was, it is frustrating missing any game - but the lads did well, we have a bit to improve on and we have been doing well in training since, we have learned a lot from the game in where we need to improve and that's been going good since then. Hopefully we can pull it together."
Mayo stayed on in New York after their game at the start of the month and they got some good work done while there, according to O'Connor: "I was limited physicality-wise in what I could do, but learning-wise I thought it was very beneficial and we went through a lot of walk-throughs on tactics and video work, which was very efficient for the team. It was great, just spending a few days with the lads and getting to know the newer lads who have come in off the pitch, it was a good thing to be able to do."
Despite seeing off New York with ease, there are still plenty of areas that Mayo have had to work on ahead of tomorrow night's meeting with Roscommon, according to the Mayo captain. "I thought we started very well, the second half we had too many turn overs and basic skills and decision making let us down at times, that's an area we needed to work on to bring that count down. It can be tough to keep it up all the time in games like that, but if we are going to get to where we want you have to hit your targets all the time and forget about the scoreline while you are doing it."
Constantly learning and improving from each game and training session has been the motto for the Mayo squad this year he added, saying: "I think the Kerry game in Tralee was a big game for us, after two losses in a row we had to perform.
"We put in a big shift down there after we had done a lot of good work training during the week - for me personally I thought that was a big turning point. In fairness it wasn't something that we had spoken too much about in the build up to it either. Even in the games since, the league final, there were areas we saw we had to improve on and it's something you have to take from every game and learn.
"It has been the motto since the start of the year, we don't let any training session pass us by or any day really, without getting the most we can out of it. We come together for training, get the most out of that session and don't look too much into the future or the past, it is about getting the maximum out of each session."
With Mayo not winning a Connacht title since 2015, reclaiming the provincial crown is something that a lot of Mayo supporters are hoping to see this year as do the players - but they are taking it just one game at a time, O'Connor says: "Winning a Connacht title is always huge for this group, especially now, more than ever, it has been tough - but we are not looking any further ahead than the Roscommon game and doing what we have to do to get over that game."