Cavan coming to Castlebar

It’s midweek, on a truly glorious spring day too, and so our next test in this up-and-down League campaign is approaching. Round 5 sees Cavan rocking into Castlebar, with Sunday’s clash throwing in at MacHale Park at 2pm. Wicklow’s Anthony Nolan is the ref for this one and the match will be broadcast live on TG4.

This is our first day-time fixture in this year’s NFL and it’s also the first time we’ve played the Breffni County in close to ten years. Our most recent meeting was in the championship, a tie also played at MacHale Park, that took place in early July 2007 in the first round of the qualifiers. We had six points to spare over them that sun-kissed Saturday evening but it was a patchy enough performance (as I made clear in the match report I did for the blog on the game – here) and our qualifier gallop that year was halted unceremoniously a week later by Derry up in Celtic Park.

We’ve a few survivors on the current squad from back then. David Clarke, Alan Dillon and Barry Moran all lined out in that qualifier tie, while Andy Moran was an unused sub that evening. Keith Higgins missed the match, having broken a bone in his hand on hurling duty a few weeks earlier.

Prior to 2007, we also met and beat Cavan in the championship in 2005. That was in a Round 4 qualifier match at Hyde Park, where we righted ourselves after our narrow Connacht final loss to Galway and we prevailed over the Ulster County side by three points. We’ve a few lads still on the go from then as well – David Clarke, Alan Dillon and Barry Moran all played a part for us in that one. By the way, if you think our shooting nowadays isn’t hectic, it was no better then: we shot nineteen wides that day as we huffed and puffed to an 0-11 to 0-8 win to book our place in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

Our most recent meeting in the League was back in March 2002, where we got the better of them by two points at Ballinrobe. Daniel Carey has a nice piece in this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants) on that 2-14 to 2-12 win for us in Flanagan Park, which is worth checking out if you haven’t yet seen it. Although none of the lads who are around now took part in that game, David Clarke was in the squad then (indeed, he has an NFL medal he won the previous year) and he played in the next League match for us that year.

We encountered Sunday’s opposition on the way to that League title in 2001, drawing with them in Breffni Park in April that year. You have to go back a full ten years,though, for our most recent clash with them prior to that, which also was played at Breffni Park and which we won by five points. The last time they beat us was two years before then, in Ballina where they got the better of us by two points, on a scoreline of 0-13 to 2-5.

I had to have a right good root around the results archive before I finally unearthed our last League meeting at MacHale Park. Before I did so, I found three fixtures played in Charlestown – we won them all (by seven points in 1985, by six points in 1983 and by six points again in 1979) – and then I finally landed on our October 1977 clash at MacHale Park. We won that one too, by four points on a scoreline of 0-12 to 0-8.

So much for ancient history. This is Cavan’s first season in Division One for a good while and, not surprisingly, they’re finding the going a bit tough. There are few easy matches in the top tier (though the Dubs’ canter against us was an exception) but Cavan’s first four outings – against Dublin, Monaghan, Donegal and Tyrone – were against the counties who currently occupy the first four berths in the Division. They came up short in three of these matches but drew with – and should really have beaten – Monaghan the week after we went under to the Farneymen. There’s a warning in there somewhere for us.

The bookies will have none of this talk, though – we’re priced at a miserly 1/5 to get the win that would seal our place in Division One for another year while all but consigning the Cavan lads to the drop.

What do you think of them apples? Time for a vote to round this one off.

How will we do against Cavan?

  • Win (79%, 236 Votes)
  • Lose (15%, 44 Votes)
  • Draw (6%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 297

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29 thoughts on “Cavan coming to Castlebar

  1. The odds are a bit like ‘Douvan’ in the Champion Chase, proves it’s very difficult if not completely impossible to beat the bookies! Douvan came nowhere!

  2. Realistically we should beat them well but we won’t cos we lack firepower up front I reckon we’ll have 3 or 4 points to spare and that will secure our Division 1 status for another year. Writing this listening to helicopters flying overhead a few short miles away from where a search is ongoing for the remaining 3 fallen heroes who gave their lives in the service of protecting others. Losing all Ireland’s is hard and it takes its toll on the Physce well it does on mine anyway, but it’s a walk in the park compared to what these 4 families are suffering at the moment. It puts football and indeed life into perspective

  3. Very true Sam. Football is a passionate pass time, but means absolutely nothing when you think about the pilots liitle child being told the news. How sad and brutal the world can be. RIP to the crew and condolences to those left to pick up the pieces

  4. Backdoor sam, Dave. I would totally agree. Whats happening on our coast puts football into perspective. Its a pass time to be enjoyed nothing more. As a mark of respect to those lost heroes and their families maybe sundays game should be postoned.

  5. The St Patrick’s day parade in Belmullet has been cancelled/postponed as a mark of respect. Maybe a minute silence at the Match as a mark of respect would be good and appropriate as they were probably GAA and Dublin fans. Anyway hopefully Mayo will have a good win and that will help lift our spirits and take the pressure off for the Donegal and Tyrone game

  6. A Dheis Dè Ar Ainm Dílís nà laochra a d’fag s?os a saol ar son muid uilig. Thinking of the Blackrock disaster and all connected to it. Erris and Mayo won’t be found wanting at this awful time.

  7. If we play the way we can we will win if we don’t we won’t, can’t believe the team are happy with the performance at Croker so hopefully they be more focused for this one Maigheoabu

  8. Very true Backdoor Sam, with the tragedy that’s unfolding in Blacksod, football seems way down the pecking order and we can only imagine the grief and pain these Families are now going through.

    However life goes on and as football is very much part of it, I guess we’ll turn out in big numbers for this one too. Our staying in D1 could very well hinge on the outcome of this match, so it will be important to brush ourselves down after last week and play football like we’re capable of. Like a lot of these League matches I don’t expect it to be pretty but so long as we come out on the right side, that will do for now.

  9. Per your report of 2007 game. Pearse Hanley made his debut. I remember the game well. When he got the ball his pace was electric and caused problems for Cavan. We could have done with him through the years

  10. The 2007 game was also a good day for Barry Moran at FF. I think he got 1-1 or 1-2 and caused Cavan a fair lot of bother but yes I recall being very excited about Hanley who was very much an emerging star.
    The 2005 meeting also mentioned, I recall in QF either Barry or Ronan McGarrity cleaning out Tomas OS at wing forward using height advantage in the 1st half when we did well. We lost a midfielder at half time and the wing man brought back to midfield which lost us momentum and then Gooch scored one of the best goals to be seen in Croke Park to push Kerry clear, we fought back well and were only 3 adrift at the end. Redeemed our reputation from 2004 a year we had the players to beat Kerry before getting beaten by the best Kerry team of the whole era in 2006.

  11. If Cavan play the blanket we need to decide whether to ignore it and just attack anyway or figure out the best way to unlock it which is more likely the running game than the kicking one. We should go for the jugular every time we have a counter attack.

  12. Cavan aren’t scoring enough (average of 10 points per game) to get a result in MacHale park. Yes they drew in a dour game against Monaghan but Ulster games take on a life of their own.

    I feel Mayo will be very determined to prove to the home support that the Dublin performance was just a one off and not a sign of things to come.

    In the other games I think Tyrone Donegal will play out a draw. Monaghan to beat Roscommon and Dublin to beat Kerry.

    Happy St Patricks day to one and all.

  13. It’s not just you, Roger – a number of people, all long-standing contributors, are in the same boat and, in IT parlance, we don’t have a fix for the problem as yet.

  14. I see in the Mayo News that Alan Dillon won’t be figuring on Sunday. Neither will Aidan or Seamus O’Shea or Ger Cafferkey. The good news is that Chris Barrett may be given his first run out since the All-Ireland final. We certainly need some shoring up in the full back line

  15. Alan Dillon has been a great servant to Mayo football and deserves a few Celtic crosses but in my opinion and it’s only an opinion he isn’t the solution to our forward problems it’s time to invest in our younger players give Adam Gallagher Liam Irwin Conor Loftus Brian Reape etc a chance in the league Alan will be a great man to have in the squad for the Summer when he is fully fit and he won’t let us down but I genuinely believe it’s time to give youth a chance and try to find a cutting edge

  16. A few changes in the line up is required for sunday. Need to get Liam Irwin and Conor Loftus on from the start and perhaps Adam Gallagher from the bench. These guys have to get game time in the league and build up a head of steam for the championship. By all accounts Conor Loftus is flying at training, so why not pick him. Would like to see Donie Newcombe and Brendan Harrison in at corner back and get Keegan and Durcan back where they can do real damage on the half back line.

  17. Great to have Chris Barrett back. Another loyal servant and extremely useful defender when fit. Here’s hoping the lad gets a good run free of injury.

  18. One very simple thing has to happen Cillian O Connor needs to play in nearer the goal. Just go back to 2012 &13 etc and see the haul of scores he got from play including goals. Playing him further out doesn’t work . Just look at the score board….

  19. Not so sure I agree with that. Teams have been using sweeper much more since. Very few teams have successful inside forwards. Even Dubs struggle against us in that sector last year. Kerry perhaps the best with Geaney but it’s still patchy success come big games. Tyrone have a few tricky fast lads but they had little luck against us last year either.
    Come summer better to alternate Cillian and AOS in FF CHF roles as last year. Use AOS for an extra option for our kickouts but when the ball is won & drift in and let Cillian out on the ball with his vision and kicking. Our 2 best foot passers Keith and Kevin Mc likely playing defense roles unless Barrett nails down Keith’s #4 shirt freeing him to a more attacking role.

  20. I’m going to throw something out as a non gambler but I would love to know what Paul Geanèy is for player of the year?

  21. Considering our ongoing injury situation, and the need to rest some players, my starting team for Sunday would be:

    Clarke
    Harrison
    Vaughan
    Higgins
    Nally
    Coen
    Durcan
    Kirby
    Parsons
    Boland
    McLoughlin
    D O’Connor
    Gallagher
    Loftus
    C O’Connor

  22. There’s been a lot of talk about the Dubs chasing records in Tralee tomorrow evening. Let’s not forget that Mayo still hold the record of SIX national league titles on the trot from 1934 to 1939. Dublin so far have won FOUR titles in a row and Kerry have FIVE title wins in a row. That great Mayo team, which won our first All-Ireland title in 1936 by demolishing Laois, could well have added to their amazing total of league titles but pulled out of the 193-40 league in a grievance over the 1939 semi-final – a bad-tempered draw and replay with Kerry. Mayo returned to the competition to win the title in 1941. Unfortunately, due to World War 11, the league was suspended for four seasons until 1946.

    I am puzzled by a reference on the internet that Cavan by beating us in the All-Ireland semi-final in 1937 ended Mayo’s run of FIFTY-SEVEN matches without defeat. Perhaps, Willie Joe, with your encyclopaedic knowledge, could say is this correct? If it is it would put the Dubs in the ha’penny place when put comes to unbeaten records. But to me it seems unlikely.

  23. Afraid not so John. A quick look at the brilliant archive results, show we were beaten the previous April in the league by Meath.

  24. Nephin’s correct, John – I recall seeing that before myself and looking into it at the time. No way did we ever have an unbeaten run like that, not even in league games alone.

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