By Jack Flynn
Mayo 3-16, Cavan 1-5
Cavan knew it would be a tall order for them to pull out a win against Mayo, one of the better sides in Junior A Football, at Gaelic Park on Sunday. What they didn’t know was how hard it would be to win without fielding a full lineup.
When the whistle blew, Cavan found themselves on the pitch with three fewer players than Mayo, and went on to suffer a tremendous beating, 3-16 to 1-5, at the hands of the green and red.
“We were expecting a tough match,” said Mike Higgins, who had four points for Mayo. “At least we were expecting 15 on 15. It didn’t turn out that way.”
Using the three extra men to their advantage, Mayo went out and iced things quickly, putting the first 10 points of the match on the board.
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Colin Burke put a goal into the net in the opening minutes and any hopes of a Cavan miracle were quickly extinguished.
Burke and Anthony McDermott each scored points to give Mayo a 1-2 to 0-0 lead, then Marshall McAdoo scored his first of two goals on the afternoon to put Cavan even further behind.
After two more Mayo points, Cavan’s Dessie O’Reilly gave his side its first points of the match and surprised the sparse crowd by scoring a fine goal. Unfortunately for O’Reilly, who was one of the few bright spots of the match for Cavan, his team was still behind by 9 points, 2-6 to 1-0.
McAdoo responded with his second goal, and a wave of substitutions came in for Mayo. Four starters took an early seat on the bench in an effort to keep from completely demoralizing the Cavan players who did make it to the match.
The scoring didn’t stop there, however. Higgins added his first two points of the day and McDermott put a ball over the bar as well, before Cavan’s Gerard Smith scored a point to make the score 3-8 to 1-1 in favor of Mayo at the half.
Incredibly, Cavan was trailing by 13 points and there was still another 30 minutes of football to be played. Although Cavan were stronger in the second half, Mayo’s lead was far too great for them to even entertain hopes of a comeback.
Neither team scored a goal in the second half, simply playing the ball over the bar and waiting for the clock to wind down to earn some respite from the blazing sun. When it was finally over, Higgins was able to put his team’s huge victory into perspective.
“It wasn’t really a challenge or a test,” he said. “We weren’t at our best, but we didn’t need to be.”
Such is the case when a team plays a match with such an advantage in manpower.
Mayo scorers: McAdoo 2-0, Burke 1-3, Higgins 0-4, McManus and McDermott 0-3, Welton, Flynn and Kavanagh 0-1.
Cavan: O’Reilly 1-3, Smith and McCorry 0-1.