Mayo 1-13 Cavan 0-11: solid display yields third straight win

After the dash and verve we showed last Sunday in Omagh, tonight’s 1-13 to 0-11 win over Cavan was far more workmanlike. It was a victory we secured thanks to another hard-working and committed display, with the result never really in doubt after we goaled shortly before half-time.

The playing conditions tonight were light-years away from the tempest that had raged round the place two weeks ago for the Roscommon game. A light wind rose only occasionally, blowing into the bacon factory end when it did, and aside from some misty rain that fell as the teams did their pre-match warm-ups the night was dry too, though the sod underfoot was heavy and a touch greasy. 

We lined out as selected, Cavan making two changes before the off, with Stephen Murray in for corner-back Conor Moynagh while Cian Mackey started at wing-forward in place of Pierce Smith.

They got the night’s first score. We committed a technical foul around the middle – a free kick we took didn’t travel the required 13 metres – and they broke quickly, McVeety shooting over.

We responded quickly, though, with Jason Doherty pumping one in to Andy who claimed the forward mark and pointed from the free shot.

Cavan then bagged the next three scores, all from frees. Jack Brady got the first and third of these, while their ‘keeper Raymond Galligan trotted up for the second, a fifty-yarder that he rammed over.

Slight pulses of alarm were sounding now as we struggled to get into this game. The root cause for much of our difficulties could be traced back to David Clarke’s rather one-dimensional kick-outs, boomed out skywards towards midfield, giving our lads no better than a 50:50 chance of claiming possession. It was a problem that, to be honest, persisted for much of the game.

Added to this, the runs being made by their centre-back Ciaran Brady and centre-forward Dara McVeety – two influential players for them – weren’t being tracked. This was creating all kinds of difficulties for us.

But then on fifteen minutes we began to right ourselves. A nice, slick downfield move ended with Andy playing the percentages and fisting over. Then Fionn McDonagh took possession on the burst, made ground and fired over off his left. As we continued to press Colm Moran was dragged down and Jason Doherty converted the free to tie the game up.

They went back in front soon after, however, with wing-back Niall Murphy coming inside at pace and collecting the pop pass before swinging over a glorious effort from distance.  It was, though, the final time they’d lead tonight.

A bit of a scramble close to their posts almost resulted in a goal for us. Stephen Coen took a shot, which Galligan parried brilliantly but the ref called the play back for a foul in the build-up. Evan Regan popped over the resultant close-in free.

We took the lead with a really intelligent score. They’d dropped fourteen players back behind the ball and we patiently probed for an opening, moving the ball over and back across the middle third. Then Aidan showed for it in space, cleanly catching the ball pumped into him to claim the forward mark. He drove it over off the outside of the boot to put us one up.

A Jason Doherty free, after a foul on Andy that, to be honest, looked more like an accidental collision, edged us two ahead. A mix-up in our backline enabled them to grab one back but we then struck at the other end for a goal that put clear daylight between the sides at the break.

Matthew Ruane’s ball in was, in truth, probably an effort at a point that dropped short, Evan Regan piled in after it and the ball ended in the net. Instinctively, my feeling was that Evan had impeded the ‘keeper but the officials were happy, the goal stood and although they pulled one back soon after we went in three clear.

Last Sunday up in Omagh we built quickly on our half-time advantage to secure a winning lead. Tonight, though, we took a good while after the break to get going and, for fifteen minutes or so, it looked like we risked giving them a route back into this contest.

We did, though, get the first score after the break. Andy was fouled having collected a super ball in from Stephen Coen and the free was then moved up – for dissent? – from where Evan banged it over.

Further chances appeared for us. Stephen Coen drove another great ball in, there was a scramble for possession and Lee Keegan eventually hacked at it and put it wide. Then Andy drove low and badly wide across the face of the goal.

We made our first change at this point, Brian Reape coming on for Colm Moran. The switch made sense – the Westport player was finding it hard to get motoring on the heavy surface and Brian’s size and heft looked a better fit for the conditions.

Lee Keegan raided forward soon after and smashed over a lovely one with the outside of his boot. Five up now and it looked we were easing away from them.

But that was when we shrank back into ourselves a bit and almost invited them onto us. A converted free and then a nice effort from distance by McVeety cut the gap to just three points with fifteen minutes still to play.

We’d made two further changes by then. Matty Ruane, who can be happy enough with a solid debut appearance in midfield, gave way for Donal Vaughan while Kevin McLoughlin came on in place of Fionn McDonagh.

Donie got our next score. He barreled forward rather inelegantly but kept going, eventually steadying himself and leathering it over to settle us down and increase our lead back to four points.

Then Brian Reape got possession out on the right and shot on the turn from around 30 yards. That restored our five-point advantage and, with little more than ten minutes left there was really no way back for there for the visitors.

In the remaining time – which included four minutes of added time – we traded two scores each. Ours came from a Jason Doherty free and a nice one from play by Diarmuid O’Connor. They lost Stephen Murray to a second yellow and late on we lost Evan Regan to injury. We were comfortable five-points winners at the finish.

Overall, it was a solid performance. At the back, Ger Cafferkey put in a storming performance at full-back, with Stephen Coen also prominent. The half-back line was solid as was midfield, where Diarmuid O’Connor ran all night and Matty Ruane got on plenty of ball. Aidan O’Shea worked incredibly hard all night, putting in another impressive display around the middle third. Fionn McDonagh was prominent again and inside Andy was always a good outlet. Evan Regan can be happy with his tally of 1-2.

So we’re top of the table after three rounds and the lads now head to the capital in a fortnight’s time knowing that a win there will end Dublin’s interest in this year’s League. It would also edge us closer to a possible top two finish.

Tonight’s win means we’re allowed to start tossing round such permutations in our minds, which is a nice change from having to think about the points we need to stave off relegation. Our good start to the year is gathering pace.

Mayo: David Clarke; Stephen Coen, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan (0-1), Michale Plunkett, Paddy Durcan; Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1), Matthew Ruane; Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Aidan O’Shea (0-1), Jason Doherty (0-3, frees); Evan Regan (1-2, two frees), Andy Moran (0-2), Colm Moran. Subs: Brian Reape (0-1) for Colm Moran, Donal Vaughan (0-1) for Ruane, Kevin McLoughlin for McDonagh, James McCormack for Coen, Ciaran Treacy for Andy Moran.

Who was our Man of the Match against Cavan? Pick your top three performers

  • Ger Cafferkey (35%, 488 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (27%, 382 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (6%, 80 Votes)
  • Andy Moran (4%, 61 Votes)
  • Michael Plunkett (4%, 52 Votes)
  • Evan Regan (3%, 48 Votes)
  • Keith Higgins (3%, 46 Votes)
  • Jason Doherty (3%, 45 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (3%, 44 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (2%, 34 Votes)
  • Matthew Ruane (2%, 28 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (2%, 27 Votes)
  • Fionn McDonagh (2%, 26 Votes)
  • David Clarke (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Brian Reape (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Ciaran Treacy (0%, 7 Votes)
  • James McCormack (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Donal Vaughan (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Colm Moran (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 857

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31 thoughts on “Mayo 1-13 Cavan 0-11: solid display yields third straight win

  1. The Return of the Caff….great to see.

    It was a decent 1st half but the 2nd half was poor. Cavan didn’t offer much but we did enough. We gave it away a lot going forward in 1st half. Cavan defended well enough though.

    It wasn’t a nite for forwards so I wouldn’t be too hard on young Moran.

    Not sure what to make of Ruane in midfield. Huge game now to beat the Dubs and push for a final place.

    Concern over Regans shoulder as well.

  2. I’d like to state that Ger Caff played like a man possessed this evening and was excellent. I would be critical of some of his past performances but he 100% justified his inclusion with that display.

    That was a tough battle tonight, Cavan were well able to play.

    A fine scrambling win, the difference a strong impactful bench has.

    The whole squad are fighting for positions. Great to see.

    Massive game now in 2 weeks.

    Can’t wait.

  3. “You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up” – Ger Caff 2019

  4. Thought AOS had a great game and his lay-offs and general all round distribution has well improved. Coen”s kick passing into the forwards is top notch but he needs to steady himself when going for the post. As for Ger Caff.. well I’ve always been a fan and I’m not surprised he played as well as he did. Cavan are a tough nut to crack and they gave us plenty of problems when they ran at us. Their fitness and team cohesion is very good and in the past this is a game we would have struggled to win. Some things went right for us and some things didn’t on the night but we had eough for Cavan and I think the result was fair reflection of our dominance at various stages in the game. Plenty to work on…but plenty to be satisfied about too… roll on Dublin

  5. We are struggling in mid field.
    Tom Parsons is a huge loss.
    Reape got the score of the night.
    Great win. Great start

  6. I was down behind the goal on Albany End, Regan injury looks bad. Tough luck on him. He showed well and tried hard tonight bit his old failing remains, not having the ability to beat or get around a man. Just haven’t seen enough from him over the years. The comditions certainly didnt suit Colm Moran – he never got going. Looks very light. Andy won most ball put his way.

    While our defence was reasonably solid throughout, our transition from defence to attack wasn’t good and we have away heaps of possession. We looked very sloppy at times and Horan noted this in his post match interview.

    Cavan are by far the weakest team in Div 1 and will finish bottom of the league.

    Ruane had an ok start. I’d actually start him v the Dubs,. I’d also start Reape, plunkett, Mcdonagh Diskin (if fit), Coen and O’Donoghue. Let these lads have a feel for Croker.

    Not a great game of football. Pitch heavy and the opposition poor. It’s a game that won’t live long in the memory.

    Ps: Coens and particularly mcloughlins efforts in 2nd half both looked over from where we were standing on Albany. Thankfully the game wasn’t tight. The umpires hadn’t a clue.

  7. Great win.
    Workmanlike performance but a win is a win.
    Great to see Ger out in front in the motm vote. Deserves that.

    Regardless of how things have gone for him he has always been there for Mayo. I admire that.

    Just watched kerry v dublin. Both teams looked very good.

    With dublin, kerry, Monaghan and a team we haven’t beaten for years, yet to play in the league, tonight’s win was extremely imporant to win.

    Time to get ready for the Dubs.

  8. I’m going to go out on a limb here but I do feel Regan will come good yet. I think the injuries he has had has really knocked the stuffing out of his confidence. Time will tell I suppose .

  9. As I said on the previous thread I have been one of Ger Cafferkey’s critics on here and I am delighted tonight to eat my words and humble pie. Ger was magnificent tonight and fully deserved man of the match and fair play to him for proving doubters like me wrong. I hope Evan is ok he is In hard luck with injuries best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

  10. Mayonaze..agreed. even though there are promising options coming through, I still think we are lacking a ball winning target man up front. Andy does it well but can’t depend on him all the time. The ball in has to be perfect at the moment when at times it’d be great to have the option to lump it.. and lay it off to finishers

  11. Moran is probably the best ball-winning target man in Ireland in the last five years, on the contrary to the ball having to be perfect, his running makes the pass relatively easy. Also I was directly behind Mc Loughlin as he took the free, it looked wide to me, BTW great to have him back!

  12. Workmanlike. AOS massive and McLoughlin secured game for us when introduced. Ruane did well considering game he had midweek. McDonagh growing in confidence with every game. Couldn’t have asked for more after three games. The dubs game will tell us exactly where we are at, but Can did run Kerry to a couple of points…..

  13. Well done, Caff. You certainly answered the doubters but it’s unlikely they will be silenced. It’s hard to silence i*’^%$s like them.
    I thought that Cavan were a much better team than Tyrone, much fitter and faster at least but also lacking punch up front. I wouldn’t bet on them going down on that performance.
    While I am 100% behind the promotion of hurling is there any point in sending kids out to try to play hurling on that MacHale Park surface on a Feb night? I do not think so. I always felt that the biggest obstacle to hurling in these parts is the lack of a good, true surface due to poor drainage in most Mayo land. Perhaps some will contradict me – but are they hurling people?

  14. @AndyD, the surface is not great for football, never mind hurling! . But I think it’s imaterial really, those young boy’s and girl’s, it’s a great thrill for them to be on the pitch with their Mayo hero’s! … How, I fully take your point about the quality of playing surface nessary to show off hurling skills in particular…Definitely great to see Caff back to something like the form that won him a deserved All Star in 2013. . I must admit to not having been his greatest advocate in the last 3 or 3 year’s.. Delighted to see him give a performance of the highest quality even if it means that I must eat a bit of Humble Pie.. Another fantastic performance, Aido was immense tonight…. There is serious competition within the squad right now to make the panel, never mind the Match Day 26, and moreso the starting 15..

  15. Great win. Status secure now. Does Horan go for it or blood the new lads??. I’d love to see him send out all new comers against the Dubs. A beating, yes. But the experience gained would be invaluable, and maybe one or two might show really well. My team for the Dubs would be..
    1. Schingerman
    2. Drake
    3. Caff
    4. O’ Donohue
    5. McCormack
    6. Coen
    7. Plunkett
    8. Ruane
    9. Vaughan
    10. McDonagh
    11. Doherty
    12. Treacy
    13. Diskin
    14. Reape
    15. Coen.

    Would love to see that team named, an experience head in defence, midfield, and attack to marshall proceedings. We finally have the breathing soace to experiment, lets use it.

  16. @MayoDunphy I’m sure Jim Gavin would love to see that Mayo team named also. In reality there will be more experienced players starting v Dublin than new lads as Horan looks to topple the Dubs.

    The improvement from the Rochford era last year is already seen. 5 points from 7 games is all Mayo got last year and that poor league form was carried into the championship. Right now the objective is to bring this good form into the championship and the improvement is built on a solid defence with just 1-7,0-11 and 0-10 conceded in the 3 games thus far but before the championship there is a national league title to be won and i have no doubt the Mayo players and management are targeting that now and the old guard Higgins,Boyle,Moran etc are long over due a national medal.

  17. In an alternative universe:

    Monaghan draw Galway,
    Tyrone beat Roscommon,
    Dublin beat Mayo,
    Tyrone draw with Monaghan
    Galway beat Kerry (did last year),
    Roscommon beat Cavan,
    Tyrone beat Cavan,
    Galway beat Mayo,
    Dublin beat Roscommon,
    Monaghan beat Kerry (did last year),
    Roscommon beat Galway (did 2 years ago),
    Monaghan beat Cavan,
    Tyrone beat Dublin (drew in league last year)
    Kerry beat Mayo,
    Dublin beat Cavan,
    Monaghan beat Mayo,
    Tyrone draw with Galway
    Roscommon draw with Kerry

    And then Mayo are relegated …

  18. @Mayomagic, nobody remembers league winners in all fairness. The players you mentioned above have footballer of the year titles and a bagfull of All Stars, cant see them bothered by a national league tbh. Them players will ultimately be defined on whether they win Sam or not…its the only war that matters.
    I beileve its to the betterment of Mayo football, that we put out a team like that in february with a decent Croker crowd. Lets develop young players while we can, its too late come july/august to be throwing them lads into big croke park matches, the time is now. We are safe, thats all that matters.

  19. Dubs showed their weakness and that’s their fullback line. Not often you see Johnny Cooper hauled off and John small and McCarthy pushed into fullback line to try seal it up.

    With that in mind I’d start Diskin-Reape and Andy inside. Let the ball in.

    As good and influential as Aidan O shea has being around midfield we would want to give him an occasional breather and throw him in fullforward too. If we allow Dubs no6 to run at us they will create havoc no matter which no 6 it is.

    Other than that think we should start Barrett anywhere in backs but with all the lads doing so well I’d put him fullback. Credit to Ger Caff but Dubs will be a different assignment and only player that would suit him would be dean rock.

    I whole heartily agree with given SlingerhmAnn a game too. GK is going to be an Area of concern I think. P O Malley and Schlingermann should get a league game or two as well in case they are needed. O Malley is the modern day Clarke I think with better range in kick outs.

    Team I’d play v Dubs
    —————schlingermann
    Harrison—Barrett—-Higgins
    Keegan—Plunkett —Durkan
    ———Diarmuid—-Vaughan
    Fionn—-Aidan—-Ruane
    Diskin—-Reape—-Andy

    Be very tempted to free up Keegan or paddy D to a no 12 role with the form coen is in but think Ruane’s Paul Flynn like traits gives him the nod at 12.

    There will be some serious match ups
    Higgins on Mannion
    Harrison on Andrews
    McCarthy on Aos
    Fenton on Diarmuid I’d actually start Vaughan in Fenton
    Jack Mc caffrey is a cert to start so again I think Ruane or durkan could do job there
    Johnny Cooper on Andy
    Reape v fitzsimmons

    Will be a great game weather permitting

  20. Did enough and more than that last night. Was encouraged by Keegan’s performance, and Durkan has become a really consistent presence. Ruane has a solid outing and McDonagh was again prominent.

    Hopefully Regan’s shoulder isn’t gone again as he’s been plagued by injury. He finished up as top scorer last night but I felt he struggled for much of the game. Had two or three poor wides from play.

  21. @mayodunphy. If that team was named aginst the dubs, we’d be on the wrong end of a bad beating. Its been great seeing the addition of young players so far in the league. But putting out almost a full squad of inexperienced players aginst the best team in the country who badly need a win wouldnt be a good idea. Id go for

    Clarke
    Coen
    Harrison
    Higgins
    Keegan
    Boyle
    Durcan
    O connor
    Vaughan
    Mcdonagh
    O shea
    Doherty
    Reape
    A Moran
    Diskin

  22. Digits you need a hobby..

    Positives
    Ger after a bit of a shaky start. Hes always been a great tackler but does lack that bit of aggression but i think everyone is delighted for the lad to perform like that after his injury. Would like to see him do it on the wide open spaces of croke park.

    Plunketts positioning .. again has he the pace for croker?

    Coen .. starting to do it consistently. Might have found his position.

    Ruane ..solid debut .. bit unsure of what to do with ball in hand at times but he can be happy overall

    Aidan .. immense .. leader making the right decisions consistently

    Andy .. making a mockery of his age.. must be a nightmare to mark

    Thought vaughan was very good when he came on ..

    NOT SO POSITIVE
    colm moran struggled physically .. at least a year away based on that

    Regan .. we’re all willing him to do it but i cant see it happening. Always gives 100% but cannot win his own ball. If by some chance he does hes overturned. Cant see him winning a 50 50 ball, taking on a decent inter county defender and putting it over the black spot. With the lkkes of diskin and reape kno king on the door i fear his time has come and gone. Tbf the lad has been unlucky with injures..

  23. Stop this rubbish talk We must put out our most experienced available team against the dubs We cannot have young lads demoralized by a team like them. That’s what would happen Good win last night. Well done

  24. Good to see Ger Caff contributing really well. He was attacking ball with conviction, that’s what we hadn’t seen in a long time. I don’t think Michael Plunkett is getting enough credit. He is such a tidy make difficult things look easy player that he doesn’t stand out. He is regularly picking out passes that most our other defenders bar Higgins and Barrett can’t see or execute.
    I’m afraid I also agree that we cannot go forward with a 50:50 lottery of a high hanging kickout. It needs to be a long 70:30 ball in our favour.

  25. Super stuff tonight undefeated in 5 games within normal time . Dubs will be gunning for us but bring them on , we’re safe now so we can just go for it against them . Brilliant stuff from Ger tonight keith was good also, so to was AO’S and McDonagh had a great workrate all night bar one weak pass late on . Thought the ref was too whistle happy tonight , no way was andy’s challenge a yellow . Anyway roll on two weeks time.

  26. ordinary enough players we are producing , Kerry forwards were on the other hand absolutely amazing last night , their accuracy is a sight to behold .

    Very pleasing to get three wins though , lads showing some promise has to be said . Caff had a good game last night and fair balls to him . Aidan o Shea is showing really well , looks very focused too. Reape hopefully will start the next day . Keegan starting to show he’s coming into his stride .

    Fenton has the ability to completely dominate the middle the next day , I don’t know how we are goiNg to deal with kickout strategy for this one . I fear they could open us up for lots of goals , crikey they are frightening when they run straight at you , o Callaghan is a monster of a lad , the amount of pressure on him and he hardly ever coughs up .

    A loss to Dublin won’t be the end of the world though with the luxury of six points already bagged . Galway I think the week after who are really struggling with an injury crisis.

    Don’t suppose there’s any chance of a miracle and Parsons might return at some point this year. He really is irreplaceable. We have nobody even close to him at this stage.

  27. Horan will have some big decisions to make. Hennelly’s kickouts were a huge asset to Mayo in last 3 games. Clarke’s kickouts far less effective last night. Caff MOTM performance at full back. Both much maligned by many Mayo fans and have again proved their value to the Mayo Tean.

  28. Who James Horan picks against the dubs depends on his priorities. Beating them in Croke Park would be good for morale and confidence. In that case he needs to go with his strongest team which I think includes McDonagh and Reape).
    If blooding new players and giving them the experience of playing the dubs in Croker is his priority then he needs to go with a mixture of experience and youth. (Playing a mainly young inexperienced team would most likely result in a heavy defeat and that is not what anyone wants).
    If it was me beating the dubs would not be a priority. I would however start with a very strong 15 and depending on how the game was going bring in younger lads that I wanted to test out in the second half.

  29. If they’re keeping score, play to win. The Dubs are coming for us, and we need to have a team that can respond. I’ll leave it to JH to figure that out, but some of the young lads have shown well and are candidates for time this summer. Play them. They’ll be time to grow the other ones that aren’t realistically going to help come June to get more experience later. Btw continue to be impressed by Plunkett. Does all the little, subtle things that aren’t necessarily flashy. Don’t always notice but you would if they weren’t being done.

  30. – Agree with AT”s players summary above
    – Cavan had plenty of running in them and very fit but are not a Div 1 team
    – Solid display in slippery conditions, it may only have looked like a mist if you were in the stand WJ !! but it was heavy rain on the Terrace I can tell you.
    – We lost too much breaking ball in the midfield diamond, it’s only when Boyler and Kevin Mc are missing that you realise how much of this type of ball they win.
    – All of the newbies lost the ball when circled by 3 or 4 Cavan guys and this is before a tackle even went in.
    – The biggest lesson from the weekends football games is that Kerry only managed to beat the Dubs even though they have probably been training for 2 months longer than the Dubs.
    – We are not going to gift wrap a win to the Dubs lets make them work dam hard for it on Sat week.

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