Nineteen wides, but Mayo win through

Mayo 0-11 Cavan 0-8

Mayo 0-11 Cavan 0-8

Last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists are on their way back to Croke Park, but their fans left Hyde Park tonight with genuine fears in their hearts that the Mayo of old has resurfaced.

Yes, they did get past the feisty challenge of Cavan in a round four Qualifier tie, but the quality of their finishing suggested that a backward step has been taken since last September.

Nineteen wides, with just 11 shots on target, these are worrying times for John Maughan, who has much work to do before he sends out a side capable of competing in an All-Ireland quarter-final.

Cavan gave it everything, and with a little bit of luck could have been closer at the finish.

It's been a wonderful adventure for the Breffni men. Robbed by illness to their manager Eamonn Coleman, they had to recover from an Ulster final drubbing by Tyrone before scoring Qualifier wins over Donegal and Meath.

This, however, was one game too far for Marty McElkennon's courageous players.

Mayo manager John Maughan managed to steal a march by pushing Ciaran McDonald into full forward after Cavan full back Darren Rabbitte was stretchered off with a leg injury after just seven minutes.

The move worked initially, marker Anthony Forde, a natural half back, struggling to contain the Mayo skipper.

McDonald slotted a point and was involved in the moves which ended with Ronan McGarrity and Austin O'Malley hitting the target.

Cavan had started strongly when Larry Reilly equalised defender Pat Kelly's early score, then Dermot McCabe swung his famous left foot at a ball and it flew over the bar.

But that was as good as it got for the Breffni men in the first half.

The beaten Connacht finalists proceeded to cut swathes through the Ulster side's defence, with McGarrity giving them a generous share of possession in the central area.

Austin O'Malley, a late inclusion in the starting fifteen, delighted his legions of fans in the Hyde Park crowd with two delightful points as Mayo eased into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead by the 22nd minute.

A solid and stubborn full back line of Dermot Geraghty, Davie Heaney and Gary Ruane allowed their opponents little space, and the Cavan attack was squeezed out of it until Finbar O'Reilly got them going again with two points, one from a free.

Forde gradually got to grips with his terrific battle with McDonald, but the force was with Mayo, and they made it a double scores lead at the break when Alan Dillon and Michael Moyles both split the posts late on for a 0-8 to 0-4 lead.

Cavan's stand-in manager Martin McElkennon tried to freshen things up by making a treble substitution at half-time, and his side did cut the deficit through Larry Reilly, who shot two points, one a sublime effort from close to the sideline.

Mayo, though, continued to force the pace, but some woeful shooting negated their best efforts, and did an injustice to some delightful touches from McDonald.

But as the half wore on, Cavan began to believe there was something for them in this game. Their defenders, particularly Martin Cahill and Peter Reilly, tackled like demons, dispossessing an increasingly frustrated McDonald on more than one occasion.

Mayo had shot seven wides, and 14 in total, by the time they got their first score of the second half after 20 minutes from substitute Marty McNicholas.

McCabe belted over a long distance free to bring the deficit back to two with six minutes to play, but almost immediately James Gill hit the target at the other end to restore a semblance of confidence in Mayo finishing.

Alan Dillon and McCabe exchanged frees, and as the game slipped into stoppage time, a goal separated the teams until the final whistle.

Cavan: J Reilly, M Hannon, D Rabbitt, P O'Reilly, M Cahill, A Forde, P Reilly, D McCabe (0-3, 2 frees), P McKenna, M McKeever, N Walsh, F O'Reilly (0-2, 1 free), S Johnston, J O'Reilly, L Reilly (0-3).

Subs: C Collins for Rabbitt, P Brady for McKenna, J Tierney for Johnston, A Gaynor for P O'Reilly, C Mackey for Walsh.

Mayo: D Clarke, D Geraghty, D Heaney, G Ruane, P Kelly (0-1), J Nallen, P Gardiner, R McGarrity (0-1), S Fitzmaurice, M Moyles (0-2), C McDonald (0-1), A Dillon (0-2, 1 free), C Mortimer, BJ Padden, A O'Malley (0-2).

Subs: J Gill (0-1) for Moyles, M McNicholas (0-1) for Mortimer, B Moran for Fitzmaurice

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