Colm Gannon reports from Castlebar
CAVAN CAME TO Castlebar looking for a win to keep their fight for survival in division one alive and they went home with an impressive victory over last year’s beaten All Ireland finalists.
The Ulster men played second fiddle for a lot of the first half, but once Gearoid McKiernan found the back of the net just before half time, they were the much better team and ended up deserving two point winners against Mayo.
A powerhouse of a second half performance where Cavan swarmed the Mayo attack and broke at pace from defence was the backbone to this victory. They trailed by a point at the break and that gap was stretched out to two just after the restart, but from then on in Cavan took the game by the scuff of the neck and didn’t look back.
Rory Dunne blasted over their first of the second half from a tight angle, then Conor Madden, Gearoid McKiernan and Tomas Corr kicked well worked scores that originated from turning over Mayo deep in their own half to put their side into a 1-9 to 0-10 lead with 42 minutes gone on the clock.
Mayo hit back through scores from Andy Moran and Danny Kirby, but Cavan just kept coming with Martin Reilly getting in for a goal chance, but he opted to put it over the bar to keep Cavan’s noses in front.
Mayo did respond with Lee Keegan kicking two points from well out the park to put them back into the lead with 16 minutes to go, but the momentum was with the visitors, Tomas Corr levelled it up a minute after Keegan’s score.
Mayo edged in front for the final time when Shane Nally pointed from close range, but down the home straight Cavan kicked the final three scores through McKiernan, McVeety and John McCutcheon and could have had a goal when Dara McVeety hit the back of the net, but his effort was harshly ruled out for a push in the back of the Mayo defender.
Cavan had the final say on the first half with Gearoid McKiernan hitting the back of the net injury time to send his side in trailing by just one at the turn around.
The impressive Cavan midfielder hit 1-3 for the Ulster men in the opening 35 minutes, his goal coming after Martin Reilly picked out Conor Madden who had got in behind Keith Higgins – Madden fed the ball to Gerard Smith, who played in McKiernan to finish form close range.
Up to that point Mayo had been in control of the game, taking their time picking apart the massed blue defence that Cavan put in front of them and looked to be going in to the break with a deserved four point lead.
After a couple of misfiring attacks, Tom Parson put Mayo into the lead six minutes in, breaking through a couple of tackles before slotting it over the bar. Raymond Galligan tried to go short from is kick-out, but it was intercepted by Andy Moran who returned it over the bar.
McKiernan kicked Cavan’s first score of the game from a long range free ten minutes in, that was quickly followed by two on the bounce from Mayo.
The first a neat score from Fergal Boland from tight out on the right and the other the first of two great points kicked by Danny Kirby in the opening 35 minutes. Another McKiernan free cut the gap back to two on 22 minutes, before Andy Moran and Dara McVeety swapped singles.
Mayo edged three clear again through a Kevin McLoughlin free, but Cavan weren’t going away and McVeety landed another top class point from play – before Conor O’Shea drove over one from well out the park and Danny Kirby bent over an effort from a very acute angle.
McKiernan hit his first from play with a huge effort to leave the score 0-8 to 0-5 in Mayo’s favour with two minutes left in normal time and O’Shea’s second point of the day looked to have have in a commanding position before the break, but McKiernan’s goal in injury time left just one between the teams.
Scores for Mayo: Danny Kirby (0-4), Andy Moran (0-3), Conor O’Shea (0-2), Lee Keegan (0-2), Tom Parsons (0-1), Fergal Boland (0-1), Kevin McLoughlin (0-1, 1f) Shane Nally (0-1)
Scores for Cavan: Gearoid McKiernan (1-5, 3f), D McVeety (0-3), Tomas Corr (0-2), Rory Dunne (0-1), Conor Madden (0-1), Martin Reilly (0-1), John McCutcheon (0-1)
David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
2. Brendan Harrision (Aghamore)
3. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
4. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
5. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
6. Lee Keegan (Westport)
7. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)
8. Tom Parsons (Charlestown)
9. Danny Kirby (Castlebar Mitchels)
10. Fergal Boland (Aghamore)
11. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)
12. Conor O’Shea (Breaffy)
13. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
14. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
15. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers)
Subs: 21. Stephen Coen (Hollymount-Carramore) for Vaughan, 20. Shane Nally (Garrymore) for Boland, 23. Neil Douglas (Castlebar Mitchels) for O’Shea, 24. Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites) for Loftus, 22. Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber) for Parsons.
1. Raymond Galligan (Leacain)
2. Killian Brady (Mullach Odhrain)
3. Rory Dunne (Cnoc Rua)
17. Fergal Reilly (Caislean Reathain)
23. Gerard Smith (An Leamhai)
6. Killian Clarke (Searog)
7. Conor Moynagh (Drom Dhuin Eire Og)
8. Gearoid McKiernan (An Muileann Iarainn)
9. Tomas Corr (An Dinn)
10. Martin Reilly (Coill an Charrai)
11. Dara McVeety (Cros ar Loch)
12. Niall Clerkin (Seacog)
21. Niall Murray (Gaeil an Chabhain)
14. Conor Madden (Loch Gamhna)
15. Seanie Johnston (Gaeil an Chabhain)
Subs: 20. Cian Mackey (Caislean Reathain) for Johnston, 5. Ciaran Brady (Armach) for Clerkin, 25. Stephen Murray (Gaeil and Chabhain) for Murray, 22. John McCutcheon (Gaeil an Chabhain) for Madden, 13. Paul O’Connor (Gaeil an Chabhain)
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)
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