Mayo revival continues as Horan looks forward to renewing Dubs rivalry
Mayo 1-13 Cavan 0-11
Mayo manager James Horan says Cillian O'Connor and Tom Parsons are progressing well in their return from injury as the county continued their 100 per cent record in Division 1.
Mayo's five-point win over Cavan at MacHale Park on Saturday night secured their third win of the campaign, a feat they haven't equalled since 2006. That year Mayo went on to secure a NFL semi-final spot and now they have a break before they face All-Ireland champions Dublin at Croke Park on February 23.
Mayo forward Evan Regan struck the crucial goal before half-time here, and although he left the field with a suspected shoulder injury late on, Horan is happy with the way the rest of his squad is shaping up.
"Not an exact date (on O'Connor) but he is progressing really well," said Horan.
"Cian Hanley is doing very well, Ryan O'Donoghue as well and Tom Parsons is making great progress.
"We're excited about them. They'll be coming back in the next couple of months. It's not defined yet, it all depends how things go."
Mayo secured a gritty one-point win over Roscommon in Round 1 but their 2-13 to 0-10 hammering of Tyrone in Omagh was their biggest result so far.
Saturday's encounter with Cavan didn't go according to plan in the opening quarter when the visitors raced into an early 0-4 to 0-1.
But the Mayo defence steadied things and Regan's goal gave them a 1-7 to 0-7 half-time lead.
Ger Cafferkey's performance at full-back was particularly noteworthy, and Horan lavished praise on the Ballina Stephenites clubman.
"It was one of his best games," said Horan.
"We gave away so many turnovers and they had numbers back so they were attacking in numbers and they tried to isolate Ger in there.
"He was superb the way he played, he was outstanding, simply outstanding tonight.
"Those fans who give out about Ger Caff, I really don't understand it. We've open sessions here every Tuesday and Friday and if they want to come down and see how he's playing, it might give them a better idea of the type of form that he is in.
"Did he answer critics? I don't believe in any of that, he was outstanding in there tonight and I'm delighted for him."
For the Breffni men, they are now in the pits of a relegation battle having lost all three of their games - one year on from their promotion from Division 2.
Aggrieved And their manager Mickey Graham felt aggrieved with Regan's goal, after he seemed to clash with Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan following Matthew Ruane's high delivery in the 36th minute.
"I felt that Raymond had the ball in his hands at the time. They said that he got to the ball first," said Graham.
"From where I was standing it looked like Raymond was shoved into the back of the net.
"A couple of decisions in the last couple of games haven't gone our way. In the various patches of the last three games we don't seem to be getting the calls that the big teams are getting.
"But we will not use that as an excuse."
Scorers - Mayo: E Regan 1-2 (2f); J Doherty 0-3 (3f); A Moran 0-2 (1f); F McDonagh, A O'Shea (1f), L Keegan, D Vaughan, B Reape, D O'Connor 0-1 each. Cavan: J Brady 0-3 (3f); C Rehill, D McVeety 0-2 each; R Galligan (f), N Murray, C Moynagh, M Reilly (f) 0-1 each.
Mayo - D Clarke 7; K Higgins 8, G Cafferkey 9, S Coen 8; L Keegan 8, M Plunkett 8, P Durcan 8; D O'Connor 9, M Ruane 9; F McDonagh 8, A O'Shea 9, J Doherty 9; C Moran 7, A Moran 8, E Regan 8. Subs: B Reape 7 for C Moran (43), D Vaughan 7 for Ruane (47), K McLoughlin 7 for McDonagh (58), J McCormack 6 for Coen (66), C Treacy 6 for A Moran (68).
Cavan - R Galligan 7; J McLoughlin 7, P Faulkner 6, K Clarke 6; C Rehill 8, D McVeety 8, C Brady 7; T Galligan7, P Graham 7; M Reilly 7, J Brady 8, N Murray 7; S Murray 6, C Madden 7, C Mackey 7. Subs: C Moynagh 7 for T Galligan (h-t), N McKiernan 7 for Madden (42), P Smith 6 for N Murray (43), N Clerkin 6 for Mackey (61), O Pierson 6 for J Brady (67).
Ref - A Nolan (Wickow)
Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly Championship podcast, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every Monday, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé, Brendan Cummins and John Mullane.