NEW Monaghan boss Malachy O'Rourke got his reign off to a perfect start as his charges got the better of an under-strength St Mary's in this scrappy affair that was played in greasy conditions in Clones.
Monaghan dominated most of the first half with Darren Hughes orchestrating from centre-back, Dick Clerkin controlling midfield and Conor McManus causing the St Mary's defence numerous problems at full-forward.
The Farney men were ahead by seven points at half-time and probably should have been further in front, but poor finishing saw them hit eight wides in that period and 12 in all.
At half-time, the winners led 1-9 to St Mary's 1-2, the Monaghan goal bundled over the line by debutant Pauric Donaghy in the 22nd minute, with Niall Sludden tucking away a major for the students some two minutes before the break.
Monaghan opened the scoring in the second half with a point from a free by Conor McManus after nine minutes, but it was the students who became increasingly dominant and went on to outscore Monaghan in the second period by 0-4 to 1-4, their second goal coming from a penalty by Brendan Herron after a foul on Daniel McKinless. With a little more composure in front of goal they might well have turned it around completely.
Scorers – Monaghan: C McManus 0-5 (2f), P Donaghy 1-0, D Clerkin 0-2, S Smith 0-2, M McElroy, N McAdam, O Duffy and D Malone 0-1 each. St Mary's: B Herron 1-1 (1-0p, 0-1f), D McKinless 0-4 (4f), N Sludden 1-0, O MacIomhair 0-1.
Monaghan – R Beggan; D Mone, F Kelly, K Duffy; M McElroy, D Hughes, K O'Connell; D Clerkin, N McAdam; S Smith, P McArdle, O Duffy; P Donaghy, C McManus, D Malone. Subs: R McNally for K Duffy, C Galligan for K O'Connell, O Lennon for N McAdam, D Hahessy for P Donaghy, S McQuillan for S Smith.
St Mary's – D McAnenly; S Mullan, A Maguire, M Murray; R Loughran, C O'Hara, B Doyle; R O'Callaghan, E McCaffrey; R Sexton, B Herron, N Sludden; D McKinless, J Johnston, J Duffy. Subs: S O'Neill for E McCaffrey, R Johnston for B Doyle, O MacIomhair for A Maguire.
Ref – E McHugh (Tyrone).