Mayo’s big win over Cavan may have come with a price

Mayo’s big win over Cavan may have come with a price
Mayo’s big win over Cavan may have come with a price

Matthew Ruane scored three points as Mayo beat Cavan in the All-Ireland SFC contest at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, Castlebar. Photo: Stephen Marken | sportsfile

Sat 18 May 2024, 7:37 PM

Mayo bounced back from their Connacht final defeat at the hands of Galway to get their All-Ireland series off to a winning start at a sun-splashed Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, Castlebar, where they saw off the challenge of a depleted Cavan side by 0 -20 to 1-8, writes John Melvin.

Before a crowd of 9,190, Mayo’s victory – which puts them on top of Group 2 at the moment – ​​may have come at a price as Paddy Durcan, just back from injury, had to be helped off the pitch following an injury in literally the last attack of the game.

The Castlebar man came on in the second half as Mayo, who struggled in the opening period, kicked on with some excellent points but unfortunately had no goals to show for a game they dominated for long periods.

Mayo took control of this game from the off but despite all the possession and the number of chances they created, just four points separated the sides at half-time, with Mayo 0-9 to 0-5 in front.

The home side had a lot of possession in that opening half but the scoring machine was not at its most efficient, although they only had four wides for the entire game.

Both sides were guilty of a lot of turnovers, Mayo in particular guilty for a lot of poor passing but, in fairness, they were always in control of the game, with Ryan O’Donoghue, Matthew Ruane, Darren McHale and Cillian O’Connor coming up with some big scores.

Cavan, to their credit, battled back hard in the opening 10 minutes of the second half but Mayo finally began to take over, Matthew Ruane and Diarmuid O’Connor in control of the middle, and with 15 minutes remaining they had moved into a 0 -14 to 0-6 lead.

All seemed to be going to plan until Cavan finaly scored a goal they had threatened on more than one occasion, James Smith punishing sloppiness in the Mayo defense to give his side a glimmer of hope.

But it was only a glimmer, and normal service resumed with O’Donoghue bringing his tally for the evening to 0-7 before substitute Conor Loftus and Cillian O’Connor, with point number 20, scored as Mayo played with 14 men for the last 10 minutes following a black card for Sam Callinan.

A tally of 20 points does sound like a big score but more urgent for manager Kevin McStay is what Mayo left behind them and, more importantly, that injury to Paddy Durcan, which would suggest he won’t be ready for Roscommon or even Dublin.

In the final analysis, Mayo are up and running and 0-16 from play is not a bad day’s work. It will provide management with a lot of comfort ahead of some bigger tests.

May: C. Reape; J. Coyne, D. McBrien, D. McHugh; S. Coen (0-1), S. Callinan, E. McLaughlin (0-1); M. Ruane (0-3), D. O’Connor; J. Flynn, J. Carney (0-1), D. McHale (0-2); C. O’Connor (0-4), T. Conroy, R. O’Donoghue (0-7, 4f).

Subs used: B. Tuohy for McHugh, C. Loftus (0-1) for Carney, A. O’Shea for Conroy, P. Durcan for McLaughlin, P. Towey for Ruane.

They dig: G. O’Rourke; C. Reilly, K. Brady, B. O’Connell; P. Faulkner, N. Carolan, C. Brady (0-1); J. Smith (1-0), O. Kiernan (0-1); C. Brady, G. Smith, O. Kiernan; O. Brady (0-4, 6f), C. Rehill, J. McLoughlin.

Subs used: T. Madden for K. Brady, L. Fortune for Rehill, T. Madden (0-1) for Carolan.

Referee: D. Goldrick (Meath).

Sat 18 May 2024, 7:37 PM

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