The Mort saga continues as family say that Conor “wasn’t wanted” in Mayo set-up
Conor Mortimer’s departure from the Mayo panel is still the subject of plenty of attention and last night his family claimed that the corner-forward “wasn’t wanted” in the county set-up.
The charismatic corner forward, who earlier this year became Mayo’s all-time leading scorer, withdrew from the Mayo panel on Tuesday night, citing “personal reasons” after being omitted from the starting XV for Sunday’s Connacht Final with Sligo.
The exact reasons behind Mortimer’s departure seemed unclear, but with the man behind one of the most famous t-shirts in Gaelic Football attracting flak in some quarters for what was deemed to be a case of him throwing the toys out of the pram, his family leapt to his defence last night.
A statement released by Mortimer’s family was read out on Midwest Radio’s Sports Talkshop last night, alleging that Conor “wasn’t wanted” in the Mayo set-up and that his treatment at the hands of Mayo boss James Horan has “destroyed his confidence”.
The statement also appeared in the Irish Examiner this morning and reads as follows: “Conor lived for Mayo football all his life.
“He began his inter-county career in the Ted Webb Competition and suffered numerous injuries over the years. Both of his brothers, Kenneth and Trevor, played for the county also and suffered injuries, like Conor over the years. They are 100% behind his decision.
“The family feel that Conor, Kenneth and Trevor owe nothing to Mayo football. Conor is a colourful character and made many friends and some enemies over the years while playing.
“Conor was out of football for 12 months last year with a knee injury. The manager James Horan never contacted him to see how he was coming along.
“When he returned to football, he was playing super football for his club Shrule/Glencorrib. James Horan was notified of a game he would be playing in, but did not attend.
“The family feel that Conor wasn’t wanted in the team. He says that every time Conor was dropped James Horan told him he had a new plan, in that he had found two goal-scoring forwards. However, the Mortimer family feel that plan has not materialised.
“Conor was playing well in A v B games in training of late and two former Mayo managers saw him and can’t understand why he wasn’t picked.
“He scored 0-8 against Dublin in the league in Castlebar and was man of the match in that game, which was well deserved. He was dropped two weeks later for the Kerry game and only played for 10-15 minutes of it.
“He was dropped again from the starting 15 for the Leitrim game because of this plan referred to by the manager. He is currently fourth choice as a corner forward and it has destroyed his confidence.
“He wasn’t happy with the way football was being played in the Mayo camp.”
The statement makes pretty frank assessments of Mortimer’s treatment in the Mayo camp and if that wasn’t enough, it also hinted that Horan has something of an agenda against Mortimer’s home club Shrule Glencorrib. He currently plays his club football with Parnells in Dublin.
“When the previous manager was in charge, there were four Shrule/Glencorrib players on the panel. Now there are none,” the statement continued.
“Mark Ronaldson was another example from last season – he was playing well and was dropped from the panel.
“In the last seven or eight Connacht finals that Mayo were involved in, Conor was top scorer in six of them. He is the all-time leading scorer in Mayo. He feels he has another three years of top-level football in him, but has made his decision and his family are behind him.
“Football was his life and he was never found wanting. He always made himself available to the media, but now all he wants is his privacy and integrity protected.
“His family are extremely happy with his achievements and are very proud of him and have always been 100% behind him and remain so.”
The fall-out from Mortimer’s departure from the panel is far from ideal preparation for Mayo’s Connacht Final clash with Sligo on Sunday, a game in which they are clear favourites to progress.
It could prove to be an unwanted distraction for the remaining members of the squad, but at the same time, it could have a galvanising effect on last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists, who are being tipped as outsiders for the main prize this year.
Although Horan had said earlier this week that the door would remain open for any player impressing at club level, this statement would appear to sever all ties between Mortimer and the current Mayo management and the chances of him playing for Mayo under Horan in the future seem extremely remote.