Finlay's heroics not enough to save Monaghan
Despite recording a dramatic victory over Mayo, their first in the league since 1986, Monaghan are still relegated to Division 2 based on the result of their head-to-head meeting with Armagh.
The Orchard men lost yesterday but their one-point victory over the Farney men earlier in the campaign keeps them in the top flight.
This was a thoroughly deserved victory by Monaghan, who outplayed Mayo for long periods and, but for the concession of a couple of goals at vital stages and squandering two clear-cut chances themselves, this result could have been wrapped up some time before the finish.
Mayo started the brighter but an opportunist goal by Tomas Freeman in the sixth minute put Monaghan in the lead for the first time.
It was a lead they held until the final minutes of the first half when Mayo registered 1-2 without reply in the last six minutes of the opening period.
Mayo's Andy Moran pocketed the goal to send his side in at the break two points up, 1-9 to 1-7.
Within two minutes of the restart, Monaghan were back on level terms through Freeman and a Paul Finlay free. Following a number of point exchanges, the sides were level on three further occasions by the end of the third quarter.
A goal by Jason Doherty in the 17th minute restored Mayo's lead but three pointed frees from Finlay -- who finished top scorer with 11 points -- brought Monaghan back to parity.
Conor McManus restored Monaghan's lead in the 26th minute with Finlay edging them two in front a minute later.
Mayo pulled back a point through substitute Aidan Kilcoyne but Darren Hughes hit an inspirational score for Monaghan with another pointed Finlay free putting them three in front and Mayo needing a goal to salvage the game.
In the final analysis, their only reward was a point but the result was of only academic importance to them and, while Monaghan supporters applauded their team at the finish, that acclaim subsided as news from other venues conspired to relegate Monaghan to the second tier for next season.
Man of the Match: P Finlay (Monaghan)
Scorers -- Monaghan: P Finlay 0-11 (9f), T Freeman 1-3, C McManus 0-3 (3f), D Hughes 0-1. Mayo: J Doherty 1-3 (0-2f), A Moran 1-1, A Campbell 0-4 (2f), J Burke 0-2, K McLoughlin, A Freeman, A Kilcoyne 0-1 each.
Monaghan -- M Keogh 7; K Duffy 6, D Hughes 8, C Walshe 6; C Galligan6 , D Mone 7, M McNally 5; N McAdam 6, O Lennon 6; D Clerkin 7, C McManus 7, M Downey 5; C McGuinness 5, P Finlay 8, T Freeman 8. Subs: J Turley 6 for M Downey, S Gollogly 6 for C McGuinness, D McArdle 5 for M McNally, D Morgan 5 for C Walshe, O Duffy 4 for D Clerkin.
Mayo -- D Clarke 6; C Hallinan 5, A Feeney 5, K Higgins 6; P Gardiner 5, G Cafferkey 6, J Burke 6; S O'Shea 7, T Parsons 7; A Campbell 7, A Moran 7, K McLoughlin 7; E Varley 6, A Freeman 7, J Doherty 7. Subs: R O'Connor 6 for P Gardiner, R Rochford 5 for C Hallinan, A Kilcoyne 7 for A Campbell, B Moran 6 for S O'Shea.
Ref -- E Kinsella (Laois)