Cork's Anthony O'Connor proud to captain Morecambe and score against Spurs in FA Cup

"It was a great occasion but I’m a bit disappointed that we couldn’t hold out."
Cork's Anthony O'Connor proud to captain Morecambe and score against Spurs in FA Cup

Morcambe's Anthony O'Connor applauds the fans after the final whistle following the Emirates FA Cup third round match at Tottenham Hotspur. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.

CORK'S Anthony O’Connor believes that the mentality of Premier League players is what is the significant difference between those playing at the top level of football and those playing below. 

O’Connor, who currently plays for League One side Morecambe, was on the scoresheet in their 3-1 defeat to Tottenham in the FA Cup third round at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

“I would always say that the difference between players play at the top is more mentally. Everyone can pass a ball 20 yards," Anthony O'Connor said.

"Everyone can hit a diagonal ball and tackle and stuff like that. I just think they are more switched on up top. I always used to think that their brains work that extra bit quicker. They see pass quicker.

“Maybe a bit physically as well. Nearly every player you come across in the Premier League are either quick or there’re strong. 

"They always have a top attribute in their game but I didn’t feel like I was constantly under pressure in the game. 

I felt comfortable on the pitch. I felt like I was holding my own. I always felt like I could play at that level. 

"It was a great occasion but I’m a bit disappointed that we couldn’t hold out.

Anthony O'Connor with Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images
Anthony O'Connor with Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images

“But it was a brilliant stadium. The outside of it reminds me of Bayern Munich’s stadium [Allianz Arena]. 

"It’s kind of got a fish bowel kind of effect outside of it. Then inside; it was unbelievable. The pitch, the way the stadium was laid out with the seats. The atmosphere was unbelievable. 

"Obviously, I didn’t get to see the layout of where the fans go in and around the stadium, it’s meant to be unbelievable. 

"I obviously just seen inside the stadium and the dressing rooms. It was an unbelievable stadium. 

"Definitely the best that I have played at.” 

DISAPPOINTING

Although O’Connor was understandably delighted with his goal in the game, he was disappointed to be on the losing side. 

However, the former Nufarm and Killeen Celtic schoolboy was proud of the way his team performed, and the fact Spurs had to call on players like Harry Kane and Lucas Moura from the substitute’s bench to help Antonio Conte’s advance to the next round.

“I was disappointed that we couldn’t cause the upset but we came up short in the end. 

"With the goal; I just made a move towards the back and as soon as Tanganga took his eye off me I ran him and I just kind of lost him for a second, and the ball was inch-perfect, and I caught the flight of it early and I just thought to myself ‘get a good connection and it’s a goal’ and I managed to do it. 

COMMUNITY GAMES 2004: Anthony O'Connor in action for Knocknaheeny Hollyhill U12s against Donegal at Mosney. Picture: Brian Lougheed
COMMUNITY GAMES 2004: Anthony O'Connor in action for Knocknaheeny Hollyhill U12s against Donegal at Mosney. Picture: Brian Lougheed

"So it was a great feeling but it’s bittersweet in the end because it would have been more special had we hung on but it is what it is.

“I think it’s testament to how well we done and how well we defended that they had to bring on Kane and Moura.

Morcambe's Anthony O'Connor pulls back on Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane.
Morcambe's Anthony O'Connor pulls back on Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane.

 

"I was looking forward to them coming on when I seen them getting ready to come on. I just thought ‘this is what I wanted, I wanted to test myself’ but a few individual errors cost us but I’m proud of the way we played. Spurs are a top team but they never carved us open.” 

O’Connor was also fast to acknowledge the attributes of Moura and was quick to give praise for the way Spurs treated the Morecambe players afterwards.

“Moura was excellent. Looking at him on tele; you would think he’s small but he is so strong. 

"I jumped up against him once and it was like bouncing off a train. He’s so quick and he really impressed me.

I managed to get Ben Davies’ shirt after the game and he actually asked me for mine. I also got Matt Doherty’s shirt and I know him from playing together at underage level with Ireland. 

I wasn’t even trying for Kane’s because I think as soon as the whistle went a lot of our lads ran straight to him looking for it. 

"It was probably the fastest they ran all day,” O’Connor joked. “I must give credit to Spurs. They were excellent with us afterwards. 

"Each of their players had a spare jersey, signed it and gave it to us to distribute amongst ourselves, so all of the lads managed to get a jersey, which I thought was a very kind gesture from them.”

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