Mayo stay top of Division One after Evan Regan goal sparks battling win over Cavan at McHale Park
Mayo 1-13 Cavan 0-11
Evan Regan struck the deciding goal in first-half added-time as Mayo maintained their perfect start to the national league with victory over Cavan at MacHale Park.
In front of 9,749 spectators Mayo weathered Cavan’s early dominance, but after Regan put enough pressure on Raymond Galligan to force Mayo’s goal, the home side held solid after the break to pick up a third straight win.
Less than a minute had elapsed when Dara McVeety ran directly at the heart of the Mayo defence and pointed off his right – McVeety was one player that Mayo struggled to cope with as he started deep and then surged forward at his ease.
The use of the offensive mark delivered Mayo’s first score of the game in the second minute with Andy Moran on target, and indeed later in the half his centre-forward colleague Aidan O’Shea also scored via a similar avenue, although his strike from long range was far sweeter than Moran’s.
Three pointed frees from a variety of angles and ranges were added to Cavan’s tally as Jack Brady and goalkeeper Raymond Galligan pushed the Ulster side into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead, but Mayo responded with three-in-a-row themselves, including a great score from youngster Fionn McDonagh.
Raymond Galligan denied Stephen Coen a goal as his attempted shot for a point dropped short after 23 minutes, but either side of O’Shea’s marked point, Jason Doherty chipped over a couple of frees to push Mayo into a two-point lead.
But just before the interval another point attempt dropped short – this time from Matthew Ruane – and Raymond Galligan looked to deal with the awkward shot. Under huge pressure from Regan he clawed the ball out, only for it to find its way to the net off the corner-forward.
That score was a huge blow to Cavan who had dominated much of the opening half, but either side of it wing-back Conor Rehill popped up with two points and Cavan only trained 1-7 to 0-7 at the break.
While Mayo were far from perfect in front of the target – Andy Moran kicked Mayo’s sixth wide in the 41st minute – they continued to stretch their lead when Paddy Durcan put Lee Keegan into space and the Westport man pointed his side into a five-point lead from distance.
Raymond Galligan failed to covert a free and a 45 in the space of three minutes as Cavan struggled to add to their first-half tally, but finally in the 53rd minute Ger Cafferkey picked David Clarke’s kick-out off the ground and Jack Brady landed their eighth score.
McVeety stole in to kick his second score, which closed the gap to three points after 56 minutes, but the arrival of Donal Vaughan and Kevin McLoughlin soon settled the home side and Vaughan pointed to restore their cushion.
A second yellow card for Stephen Murray saw Cavan play the last nine minutes with 14 players, and Mayo closed out the win in style with Doherty, Brian Reape and Diarmuid O’Connor adding to their tally.
Scorers – Mayo: E Regan 1-2 (2f), J Doherty 0-3 (3f), A Moran 0-2 (1f), F McDonagh 0-1, A O’Shea 0-1 (1f), L Keegan 0-1, D Vaughan 0-1, B Reape 0-1, D O’Connor 0-1.
Cavan: J Brady 0-3 (3f), C Rehill 0-2, D McVeety 0-2, R Galligan 0-1 (1f), N Murray 0-1, C Moynagh 0-1, M Reilly 0-1 (1f).
Mayo: D Clarke; K Higgins, G Cafferkey, S Coen; L Keegan, M Plunkett, P Durcan; D O’Connor, M Ruane; F McDonagh, A O’Shea, J Doherty; C Moran, A Moran, E Regan.
Subs: B Reape for C Moran (43), D Vaughan for Ruane (47), K McLoughlin for McDonagh (58), J McCormack for Coen (66), C Treacy for A Moran (68).