Allianz National Football League Division One
Monaghan 0-11 Kerry 1-14 3/4/11
Monaghan’s NFL Division One status is out of their hands after Sunday’s defeat to Kerry in Inniskeen. Monaghan are still in with a chance of staying in the top flight, but will be depending on other results involving Galway and Armagh to go their way, after Mayo secured their safety with a win over Cork. Monaghan were always playing catch-up in this game, having found themselves trailing by 11 points at the end of a one-sided first half, during which they played into a strong wind. Despite improving in the second half, Monaghan were never able to close the gap to any less than six points. Kerry were impressive, particularly in the first half, with Declan O’Sullivan, David Geaney and Killian Young on form, while David Moran and Anthony Maher bossed midfield. Dessie Mone, Conor Galligan, Kieran Duffy and Colin Walshe were best on the day for Monaghan, who were without a number of key players including Paul Finlay, Owen Lennon, Vincent Corey and Darren Hughes, who made a difference after he came on at half-time.
Monaghan started brightly enough with Conor McManus having a shot saved by Kerry keeper Tomás Mac an tSaoir, while the follow-up from Christopher McGuinness was blocked, but Kerry were first off the mark when Kieran O’Leary tapped over from a 13-metre free after Kieran Donaghy had been fouled right on the edge of the square. David Geaney kicked the first point from play after a good break by Declan O’Sullivan, who added a point to make it three-nil after ten minutes. Geaney got his second point after he had kept a wayward shot from Donaghy in play and the same combination led to Kerry’s next score, as Geaney made a fine catch from a Donaghy centre to set up O’Leary for an easy finish. The visitors tagged on a further three points in as many minutes as the half drew towards a close: a 20-metre free by Geaney, after a foul on Darran O’Sullivan, either side of points from play by David Moran and blood-sub Niall O’Mahony. Owen Duffy finally got Monaghan off the mark when he kicked a point after a pass from McGuinness, but a great score by Declan O’Sullivan restored Kerry’s eight-point lead. Things went from bad to worse for Monaghan in the last minute of normal time when Declan O’Sullivan went through, dummying past Colin Walshe and Mark Keogh, before tapping the ball into the net to give Kerry a comprehensive 1-9 to 0-1 lead at half-time.
Monaghan got a point within half a minute of the restart, as Neil McAdam won the throw-in and Darren Hughes sent the ball in for fellow substitute Tommy Freeman to apply the finish. Conor McManus converted a brace of 30-metre frees after fouls on himself and Mark Downey, but good approach play by Geaney and Donaghy created a point for Kerry’s returning star Paul Galvin. Monaghan got the next three points, as McManus sent over two more frees, following fouls on Dick Clerkin and McAdam, either side of a point from play by McGuinness, but Kerry stayed in control, thanks to close-range frees by O’Leary and Geaney, after fouls on Darran O’Sullivan and Killian Young. Monaghan got a point back through Colin Walshe, but Anthony Maher linked up with Young to reply for Kerry, who went further clear when Niall O’Mahony split the posts. Mark Downey and Bernard O’Brien hit a point each for Monaghan in the final five minutes, the latter after Shane Smyth had broken down a long ball in from Darren Hughes, but they never looked like getting the goals they needed to get back into the game. Smyth kicked the final point in injury-time after a strong run by Donal Morgan, but Kerry – despite Maher being shown a second yellow card late on – still had six points to spare at the final whistle.
Monaghan: M Keogh; C Walshe (0-1), K Duffy, C Brady; David Hughes, D Mone, C Galligan; D Clerkin (Capt.), N McAdam; J Turley, M Downey (0-1), D Malone; C McGuinness (0-1), O Duffy (0-1), C McManus (0-4f).
Subs: T Freeman (0-1) for Turley, Darren Hughes for Malone (both H-T), B O’Brien (0-1) for O Duffy (53 mins), D Morgan for Brady (60), S Smyth (0-1) for McGuinness (64).
Kerry: T Mac a tSaoir; P Reidy, M Ó Sé, A O’Connell; A O’Mahony, K Young, D Bohan; D Moran (0-1), A Maher (0-1); P Galvin (0-1), Darran O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan (1-2); K O’Leary (Capt., 0-3, 2f), K Donaghy, D Geaney (0-4, 2f).
Subs: S Scanlon for Moran (inj., 52), B Maguire for Bohan, S Enright for O’Connell (both 55), N O’Mahony (0-2) for Darran O’Sullivan, G O’Driscoll for O’Leary (both 65).
Temporary Sub: N O’Mahony for Darran O’Sullivan (28-30).
Referee: C Reilly (Meath).