Cavan gave their survival hopes a shot in the arm Sunday in MacHale Park as they produced a significant victory over Mayo.
Gearoid McKiernan’s first half goal gave them a lifeline just when Mayo threatened to pull clear and their first win in five matches bring them to three points, just one behind the home team.
Trailing 0-15 to 1-11 entering the final 10 minutes, three unanswered points from Tomas Corr, Dara McVeety and Joe Dillon turns things for Mattie McGleenan’s men.
Mayo built a 0-4 to 0-1 lead through Tom Parsons, Andy Moran, Fergal Boland and Danny Kirby with McKiernan kicking Cavan’s score.
Stephen Rochford’s men continued to build their cushion going 0-9 to 0-5 clear as Moran, Kevin McLoughlin, Conor O’Shea (2) and Danny Kirby split the posts.
McKiernan and Dara McVeety bagged a brace of white flags each for the visitors but when McKiernan finished a brilliant move for Cavan’s goal in injury time, their deficit was just 0-9 to 1-5.
Donal Vaughan opened Mayo’s second half account but four unanswered scores ensured this would go to the wire. Rory Dunne, Conor Madden and another McKiernan two made it 1-9 to 0-10 before Moran pointed on 43 minutes.
Martin Reilly restored Cavan’s two-point advantage though Kirby scored again and Lee Keegan belted two with the right boot to make it 0-14 to 1-10 for last year’s All-Ireland finalists.
Tomas Corr for Cavan and Mayo’s Shane Nally traded minors on 57 minutes but Mayo wouldn’t score again as the Ulster side tallied the last three points to secure a priceless win.
Cavan and Mayo will battle for survival though Kerry aren’t safe either. But Cavan’s first win ensures their demotion is not a guarantee.
Cavan – Gearoid McKiernan 1-5, Dara McVeety 0-3, Tomas Corr 0-2, Rory Dunne 0-1, Martin Reilly 0-1, Conor Madden 0-1, Joe Dillon 0-1.
Galway – Danny Kirby 0-4, Andy Moran 0-3, Conor O’Shea 0-2, Lee Keegan 0-2, Tom Parsons 0-1, Fergal Boland 0-1, Kevin McLoughlin 0-1, Shane Nally 0-1.
Cavan – Raymond Galligan; Killian Brady, Rory Dunne, Fergal Reilly; Gerard Smith, Killian Clarke, Conor Moynagh; Gearoid McKiernan, Tomas Corr; Martin Reilly, Dara McVeety, Niall Clerkin; Niall Murray, Conor Madden, Seanie Johnston.
Mayo – David Clarke; Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins, Paddy Durcan; Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan; Tom Parsons, Danny Kirby; Fergal Boland, Cillian O’Connor, Conor O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran, Conor Loftus.