AN­THONY LIFTS LID ON SU­PER MO­MENT

Ply­mouth de­fender ded­i­cates goal to son

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Joshua Richards

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.

Tim­ing

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.

Mas­sive

“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.”

PIC­TURE: Pin­na­cle

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

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