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Breffni battle back but fall agonisingly short against Mayo

Geraldine Sheridan of Cavan in action against Danielle Caldwell of Mayo during the TG4 All-Ireland SFC Group A Round 2 match between Cavan and Mayo at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford Picture: Ben McShane/Sportsfile
LOUISE GUNN

TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship: Mayo 2-9 Cavan 0-16

CAVAN'S stunning second half fight back was not enough as Mayo edged a crucial championship encounter 0-16 to 2-9 at Pearse Park on Sunday.

Tara Needham scored the winning point after Cavan had managed to claw their way back into the game after being 0-13 to 0-5 behind early in the second half. .

The Ulster side will take a lot from this battling performance going into Saturday's crucial final group game against Tipperary. Cavan cannot reach the knockout stages now, neither can Tipperary, but a win would ensure their status as a senior championship side was safe for another year.

A trio of Shauna Howley points helped Mayo lead 0-3 to 0-1 after seven minutes, Sinead Greene with a fisted point for Cavan. Tamara O'Connor and Lisa Cafferky both raised white flags to put Mayo four ahead but Aisling Gilsenan and Lauren McVeety replied for Cavan. Howley (free) and Gilsenan exchanged points and with 19 minutes gone the gap was down to two. However, Mayo outscored their opposition five points to one in the final 10 minutes of the half to open up a six point half-time lead, 0-11 to 0-5, Sinead Walsh, Needham, Sarah Mulvihill and Cafferky (2) all on target

Mayo extended their lead out to eight within three minutes of the resumption through Walsh and Cafferky (free) but McVeety (free) and Gilsenan were doing their best to keep Cavan in touch and the game turned on its head within the space of five mintues when Ally Cahill found the back of the net twice, first in the 39th minute and then again in the 44th minute to leave just a point between them, 0-14 to 2-7 and three minutes later Gilsenan levelled the game for the first time.

Mayo edged back in front through Cafferky (free), her fifth point of the afternoon, but once again Gilsenan responded for Cavan to bring her tally to five as well for the day.

Just as it looked as though Cavan might take a vital point, Needham produced the goods with an excellent point for a late, late win and a place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Four of the eight quarter-final places are now known ahead of Saturday's final round of games. Reigning champions Meath are joined by last year's beaten finalists Dublin with Connacht sides Mayo and Galway also reaching the knockout stages.

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