"He isn't a flat track bully; he's the reason Mayo hammered them" 2 months ago

"He isn't a flat track bully; he's the reason Mayo hammered them"

Have you noticed the pattern of players who have flat track bully accusations thrown at them? They're usually amongst the best. Always amongst the most prolific.

When Cillian O'Connor is finished his career - whenever that may be, he's only 28 - he'll finish as the All-Ireland football championship's highest ever scorer and by some, some distance it will be too. And he'll finish with another individual record that might never be broken.

4-9 in one game. 4-9 in an All-Ireland semi-final.

Cillian O'Connor is frighteningly accurate. He's relentlessly ruthless. He's a lethal forward and there's nothing else to it.

But the questions are still asked - even after all his scores, even after 4-9 - is he a flat track bully?

So, amidst the unanimous praise for his performance against Tipperary on The GAA Hour, devil's advocate was played and the discussion was had. Is Cillian O'Connor a flat track bully?

"In my view, Cillian has always done as well as could be expected of him, even against the top teams," Cian Ward said.

"He's always giving it to his opponent in terms of physicality and effort and causing problems.

"Let's not forget he scored a magnificent equalising point against Dublin in an All-Ireland final. It was a sensational score and it's just you don't always get that platform or space when you play against Dublin."


But even his 3-4 against Donegal was called into question because it was in the middle of another hammering.

"You have to look at the time he gets these scores," Ward said. "If he's scoring two or three goals at the end when the game is over, you can maybe say something like that but even then I'd be reluctant because he's a ruthless operator and I think he deserves credit for that."

Conán Doherty, meanwhile, says that Mayo hammering a team isn't a reason to dismiss Cillian O'Connor.

"He is the reason that they hammered them," Doherty said.

"If you take away his scores, do you look at him a bit more kindly because he scored 2-3 in a game that was tighter? No. He went out and hit 4-9 and buried them.

"After he got the second goal, it was a great moment in his celebration when he booted the ball again and clenched his fist and shouted 'come on, we're not finished here'.

"I know I get excited because I'm just always looking for a team who can compete against Dublin and I loved that ruthlessness of 'we're not done'. What would Dublin do in this situation? They would just go after the next ball and they would hammer them and hammer them and hammer them and that's what Mayo did because that's what Cillian O'Connor did."

Listen to the full GAA Hour podcast right here.