McGuinness' clinical edge keeps Monaghan in hunt
Monaghan 1-12 Sligo 0-7
Monaghan returned to winning ways and moved to within a point of Fermanagh at the top of the table courtesy of a comfortable victory over Sligo in Clones.
The Farney men, who led from start to finish, were on top throughout, even if some poor finishing prevented them from making it count in the first half.
The hosts eventually pulled away when Christopher McGuinness scored the only goal of the game in the 45th minute.
An Owen Duffy point for Monaghan was the only score of a scrappy opening quarter, before he eventually added a second on 21 minutes.
Adrian Marren got Sligo off the mark a minute later and, although Paul Finlay replied with a free, Marren kicked another fine score to keep Sligo in touch.
Monaghan finished the first half strongly and hit three unanswered points in the last five minutes – two excellent strikes from Kieran Hughes, either side of one from Dick Clerkin to lead 0-6 to 0-2 at the break.
The home team got the first score of the second half from a '45' by 'keeper Rory Beggan, but Sligo quickly responded through Niall Murphy.
A third Kieran Hughes point kept Monaghan on the front foot, however, and they took control when a well-worked move put McGuinness through to sidestep Sligo 'keeper Philip Greene and fire to the roof of the net.
Tommy Freeman then opened his account from a free, which was quickly cancelled out by Marren, before the same two players swapped points from frees again.
DIT's Sigerson-winning captain Colin Walshe got forward to kick a nice point for Monaghan and, even after Marren hit two-in-a-row, one from a free, McGuinness rounded off the scoring in injury-time as the hosts finished well to set up a top-of-the-table clash with Fermanagh next time.
Man of the match: Dessie Mone (Monaghan)
Scorers - Monaghan: C McGuinness 1-1, K Hughes 0-3, O Duffy, T Freeman (2f) 0-2 each, R Beggan ('45'), C Walshe, D Clerkin, P Finlay (f) 0-1 each. Sligo: A Marren 0-6 (2f), N Murphy 0-1
Monaghan – R Beggan 7; K Duffy 6, D Mone 8, F Kelly 7; K O'Connell 7, N McAdam 7, C Walshe 7; O Lennon 7, D Clerkin 7; G Doogan7, K Hughes 6, O Duffy 6; C McGuinness 7, P Finlay 7, T Freeman 6. Sub: S Smyth 5 for T Freeman (63)
Sligo – P Greene 6; C Harrison 5, J Martin 5, R Donovan 5; N Ewing 5, A McIntyre 5, M Quinn 5; S Gilmartin 6, S McManus 6; M Breheny 5, P Hughes 6 B Curran 6; B Egan 5, N Murphy 5, A Marren 7. Subs: F Quinn 5 for B Curran (34), J Kelly 6 for B Egan (h-t), B McGovern 6 for P Greene (46), J Kilcullen 5 for M Breheny (49), K Cawley 5 for N Ewing (57)
Ref – S McLaughlin (Donegal)