A five point win over Cavan keeps Mayo’s 100 percent start to the league intact and puts them joint top of Division 1 with Kerry.
It’s the first time since 2006 that Mayo have won their first three games of the league as James Horan’s start to his second coming gets off to the dream start.
They led by three at the break and Cavan never got any closer than that in the second half. With 12 minutes to go three points remained the gap until two points in a minute from subs Donie Vaughan and Brian Reape eliminated any doubts about the result.
It was a game that never was exhilarating but there can be few arguments about the final result.
Mayo full-back Ger Cafferkey left with the man of the match award after giving an exhibition while Mayo had big displays too from Aidan O’Shea, Michael Plunkett, Jason Doherty and Andy Moran.
The hosts took in a one goal lead at the break thanks to Evan Regan’s goal in first half injury time. Matthew Ruane’s shot for a point dropped short and Regan contested the ball with goalkeeper Raymond Galligan. Cavan looked for a free out and it was the type of challenge typically given in favour of the goalkeeper but Anthony Nolan told didn’t agree and the goal stood. Cavan manager Mickey Graham expressed his disappointment with the decision afterwards.
The visitors had led by 0-4 to 0-1 after ten minutes. Dara McVeety from play and frees from Jack Brady (2) and Raymond Galligan had Cavan off to an ideal start.
But Mayo, who made five changes to the team that beat Tyrone last Sunday, clawed their way back into the game. Andy Moran struck two first half points and had his fingerprints over much of Mayo’s attacking play. A Jason Doherty free had the sides level at 0-4 each after 17 minutes.
Mayo nearly struck an accidental goal after 22 minutes when corner-back Stephen Coen’s point effort dropped short and Galligan did superbly to tip it around the post and prevent it from hitting the top corner.
A pointed offensive mark from Aidan O’Shea and a free from Doherty had Mayo two up before Regan’s goal.
Cavan wing-back Conor Rehill kicked two good points either side of the goal to keep Cavan in the reckoning at half-time.
But that was as close as they got and Mickey Graham’s men are at the opposite end of the table, pointless from three games.
Mayo scorers: E Regan (1-2, 2fs), J Doherty (0-3, fs), A Moran (0-2, 1 mark), L Keegan, D O’Connor, F McDonagh, A O’Shea (mark), B Reape, D Vaughan (0-1 each).
Cavan scorers: J Brady (0-3, 3fs), C Rehill, D McVeety (0-2 each), R Galligan (f), M Reilly (f), N Murray and C Moynagh (0-1 each).
Mayo: D Clarke; S Coen, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; L Keegan, M Plunkett, P Durcan; D O’Connor, M Ruane; F McDonagh, A O’Shea, J Doherty; E Regan, A Moran, C Moran.
Subs: B Reape for C Moran (43), D Vaughan for Ruane (48), K McLoughlin for McDonagh (58),J McCormack for Coen (66), C Treacy for A Moran (68)
Cavan: R Galligan; J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, K Clarke; C Rehill, D McVeety, C Brady; P Graham, T Galligan; M Reilly, J Brady, N Murray; S Murray, C Madden, C Mackey.
Subs: C Moynagh for T Galligan (h/t), P Smith for N Murray (44), N Clerkin for Mackey (61), N McKiernan for Madden (41), O Pierson for J Brady (67).
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).