FIVE points without reply in the final seven minutes eased Monaghan to victory in this entertaining encounter in Clones yesterday.
Monaghan led at half-time by 0-4 to 0-3 at the end of a half that the students dominated, with the two points that gave them that advantage at the break coming in stoppage-time.
The switching of Paul Finlay from midfield to full-forward for the second half was the key element in Monaghan taking increasing control, but St Mary's College's poor finishing saw them hit five wides on the trot when there were just two points between the sides.
Monaghan were four ahead entering the final 10 minutes of normal time and, while St Mary's brought that tally down to three with a brilliant free-kick by substitute Emmet Bradley, the hosts finished much the stronger.
With Finlay registering three points, and Stephen Gollogly and James Turley bagging one apiece, they wrapped up victory with something to spare.
SCORERS -- Monaghan: P Finlay 0-5 (1f), M McKenna, S Gollogly, C Hanratty, O Duffy 0-2 each, J Turley 0-1. St Mary's College: N Morgan, B Doyle 0-2f each, C Conaghan, E Bradley (f) 0-1 each.
MONAGHAN -- M Keogh; C O'Connell, D Hughes, D Malone; C Galligan, V Corey, T O'Neill; C Daly, P Finlay; M McKenna, S Gollogly, J Turley; C Hanratty, S Smyth, B O'Brien. Subs: O Duffy for B O'Brien, R McNally for C Galligan, J Bellew for C Daly, D Millar for M McKenna, D Morgan for T O'Neill.
ST MARY'S COLLEGE -- N Morgan; M Slane, D McBride, E McArdle; C O'Hara, G Teague, M Murray; N Donnelly, R O'Callaghan; D McCusker, R Sexton, N Sludden; C Conaghan, O MacIomhair, B Doyle. Subs: C McMahon for O MacIomhair, E Bradley for R O'Callaghan, B Herron for D McCusker, T Canavan for C Conaghan, J Gilmore for R Sexton.
REF -- C O'Hagan (Tyrone)