ANTHONY LIFTS LID ON SUPER MOMENT
Plymouth defender dedicates goal to son
IS IT a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Anthony O’Connor – and Plymouth Argyle’s very own Superman has revealed the reason for wearing the iconic ‘S’ on his chest is down to the bond with his son.
The 22-year-old hails from Ireland where Anthony Junior, or AJ, still lives.
Such is O’Connor’s love for the game and determination to forge a career, he reluctantly has to live apart from his two-year-old, who calls his dad Superman.
So when O’Connor marked his 108th appearance in the Football League with his first senior goal last Saturday, AJ was at the forefront of his mind – and there was only one way he was going to celebrate.
“I’ve been due a goal, I had said it to the lads before the game. I only ordered the Superman tshirt a few weeks ago and had only worn it for the last two games, so I timed the goal perfectly,” said the versatile defender.
“I got booked for taking my shirt off, so I think in future I will just have to lift it up! “I do like a superhero movie and there’s a bit of a joke with the lads that I have played in so many positions that I’m Plymouth’s Superman.
“But really it was for my little boy in Ireland, he turned two last month and I’d like to think of myself as his Superman.
“It can be difficult living away from my family, but the gaffer (John Sheridan) has been really good with me. He’s a real family man and so I think he understands. He is very supportive and lets me go back to Ireland every now and again to see them. He trusts me.”
O’Connor’s first-half goal against Northampton was the first he had scored since netting for the Republic of Ireland’s U19s against Greece in the 2011 European Championship finals in Romania and the first on English soil since an effort against Manchester United’s U18s for Blackburn.
Despite his lack of goals, O’Connor has managed to convince plenty of his worth to their cause.
He started all 46 league games – and the two play-off semi-finals against Bradford – during a seasonlong loan spell at Burton Albion from Blackburn in 2012-13.
A seven-month loan stay at Torquay last term preceded his move to Plymouth, which started originally as a loan before being made permanent. Having experienced the pain of relegation from League Two last term with Torquay, O’Connor hopes this season ends with the ecstasy of promotion.
“I’m at a good club and I want to help them get promoted,” he added.
“Games against promotion rivals, like Northampton, are massive.
“We need to beat teams around us, as we did last Saturday, because that has opened a bit of a gap on them.
“It’s so tight at the moment, but it would be great to finish the season with promotion. I think the club belongs in League One.
“The most important thing is playing football. I’m not really bothered about how far from home I am, I love football. It’s my passion and I give it everything.”
WHAT A HERO: Plymouth’s Anthony O’Connor shows off his Superman shirt after netting against Northampton Inset: With his son, AJ
TIME TO CHANGE: O’Connor whips of his Pilgrims top