So with only a few weeks left before Mayo enter the championship against Sligo, what will John O'Mahony have learned from his sides latest outing against Cavan in the build up. Not a lot, to be honest, about the only definite to be taken from the game on this showing is that Cavan won't be threatening for the Anglo Celt Cup this summer. O'Mahony gave game time to all but three of his championship squad over the seventy minutes in the wonderful new ground in the Barony and while the facilities were top class the weather and the football wasn't.
Cavan looked like they could go the full 35 minutes of the opening half without scoring until Cian Mackey kicked over a point with two minutes left before the break, he did add on a second before the median whistle which saw Mayo leading by 0-6 to 0-2. One welcome positive for Mayo in the opening half was the display of Tom Cunniffe at centre half back, the Mitchels man who missed out on the majority of last season, looks to be chomping at the bit and put in an assured display in his 45 minutes on the field. Cunniffe's selection in the number six shirt saw Trevor Howley dispatched back into the corner. Seamus O'Shea and Tom Parsons started in the middle of the park, with Pat Harte and Billy Joe Padden along with Alan Dillon making up the half forward line. Playing against a breeze which strong cornfield breeze which was favoring the Ulster men in the opening half, O'Mahony moved Parsons from the midfield battle to act as a sweeper during the first half and the Charlestown man did well in the unfamiliar role, although the Cavan attack was no where near as potent as what Mayo will face over the summer. Mayo's first half scores came from three Conor Mortimer frees, a brace from Enda Varley and a Aidan O'Shea point.
The second half was more of the same, with Mayo having lots of possession and Cavan living off scraps, both sides made a number of changes with Mayo finishing off with 13 different players who started with only the home town duo of Billy Joe Padden and Chris Barrett finishing the game.
Neil Douglas kicked two points for Mayo off the bench with Aidan Kilcoyne chipping in with one, but Barry Moran's run out will have heartened Mayo supporters ahead of the the Sligo game. Moran won a number of clean balls and broke possession to his team mates on a number of occasions and if he and Aidan O'Shea can strike up a partnership over the next few weeks it can only be but good news for Mayo. The only clear cut goal chance of the game fell to Aidan Kilcoyne, who bore down on goal as the PA announcer informed the crowd of the latest change to line ups and let out a roar of “go on” as the Knockmore man bore down on goal. His effort was well saved by the Cavan custodian, one black mark on Mayo's copy book was that they kicked 12 wides over the 70 minutes some form very scorable postions.
Mayo:D Clarke; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, T Howley; P Gardiner, T Cunniffe, K McLoughlin; T Parsons, S O’Shea; P Harte, BJ Padden, A Dillon; E Varley (0-2 ), A O’Shea (0-1 ), C Mortimer (0-3, 3fs ). Subs: L O’Malley for Gardiner (ht ); A Moran (0-2 ) for Dillon (ht ); R McGarrity for Harte (ht ); A Freeman for Mortimer (HT ); M Ronaldson (0-1 ) for Varley (45 mins ); B Moran (0-1 ) for A O’Shea (45 mins ); D Vaughan for Cunniffe (45 mins ); A Kilcoyne (0-1, 1f ) for O’Shea (45 mins ); K Conroy for McLoughlin (48 mins ); N Douglas (0-2 ) for Freeman (48 mins, ); S Nally for Howley (55 mins ); K O’Malley for Clarke (55 mins ); K McLoughlin for O’Malley.
Cavan: F Reilly; D Sheridan, T Corr, M Cahill; P Brady, E McGuigan, J McCutcheon; C Galligan, R Cullivan; D O’Dowd, G Smith, M McKeever; C Mackey (0-3, 2fs ), D McKiernan, P Brady. Subs: A Clarke for O’Dowd; R Galligan (0-1, 1f ) for P Brady; M Johnston for McCutcheon; N Walsh for Cullivan; M Brides for P Brady; M Hannon for McKeever; E Smith for Corr.
Ref: D Hunt (Roscommon )