Cavan shock Mayo to keep their survival bid alive

Gearóid McKiernan impresses as Cavan battle their way to victory in Castlebar

Mayo 0-15 Cavan 1-14

Mayo crashed to their second home defeat of the league campaign when they were turned over by a battling Cavan side at MacHale Park on Sunday.

A shock result which throws a lifeline of sorts to Cavan but leaves Mayo’s Division One status far from secure.

Cavan threw off the shackles of their blanket defence in the second half, taking Mayo on, and it paid off. Particularly around the middle of the field where the visitors regained control having struggled in this area in the first half when Danny Kirby and Tom Parsons ran the show for Mayo.

But a lot of things were just not clicking for a frustrated Mayo, on a day when Cillian O’Connor failed to register a single score.

Mayo looked to be well in control coming to half-time, leading 0-9 to 0-5 when Cavan midfielder Gearóid McKiernan struck an excellent goal. He finished the half with 1-3 to his name.

A long ball into the Mayo defence caught Keith Higgins on the wrong side of his man, and the lay-off from Conor Madden set up McKiernan who whacked the ball past David Clarke.

Mayo picked off some excellent long range points in the first 35 minutes, as Cavan put 14 men behind the ball. Kirby, Conor O' Shea and Andy Moran all got on the scoresheet with two points apiece.

Cavan’s only response in the opening 14 minutes was a pointed free from McKiernan, but they always looked menacing on the counter and after their late first half goal they went into the change-of-ends just one point behind.

The game came to life in the second half, with McKiernan and Dara McVeety to the fore in the scoring department.

It looked as though the home side would hold out for an expected win when Lee Keegan kicked back-to-back points from distance to edge one point ahead.

But Cavan refused to go away and an excellent point from Tomas Corr had the sides locked at 1-11 to 0-14 as the game turned for home.

Substitute Shane Nally wasn’t long on the field when he kicked Mayo into the lead again with 12 minutes of normal time remaining, but that turned out to be their last score as Cavan smelt blood and pushed on.

McKiernan landed a monster of a free from distance to level matters, before McVeety, who also had a goal ruled out for a push on Colm Boyle, and substitute John McCutchen sealed a deserving win with late points.

MAYO: D Clarke, B Harrison, K Higgins, P Durcan, C Boyle, L Keegan (0-2), D Vaughan, T Parsons (0-1), D Kirby (0-4), F Boland (0-1), C O’Connor, C O’Shea (0-2), K McLoughlin (0-1, 1f), A Moran (0-3), C Loftus.

Subs: S Coen for Vaughan (50), S Nally (0-1) for Boland (55), E Regan for C Loftus (64), N Douglas for C O’Shea (66), J Gibbons for Parsons (70).

CAVAN: R Galligan, K Brady, R Dunne (0-1), F Reilly, G Smith, K Clarke, C Moynagh, G McKiernan (1-5, 3f), T Corr (0-2), M Reilly (0-1), D McVeety (0-3), N Clerkin, N Murray, C Madden (0-1), S Johnston.

Subs: C Mackey for Jonson for (43), J McCutchen (0-1 for C Madden (63), P O’Connor for Corr (67), C Brady fir Clerkin (68).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).

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