14-man Monaghan show their mettle to see off Eamonn Fitzmaurice's Kerry
Monaghan 1-13 Kerry 0-14
Monaghan held their nerve in a tight finish to put back-to-back Allianz Division One league wins over Kerry in very testing conditions in Inniskeen.
Down to 14 men after losing corner-back Barry Kerr to a red card in the 63rd minute Monaghan withstood a lot of late pressure with breakaway points from substitute Neil McAdam and Conor McManus from a free earning them a second successive league win.
But there was respite for Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice in how his young players battled their way back into this game after being so out of sorts in the first half.
They trailed by seven points at one stage and given the level of Monaghan's dominance this might have gone away from them.
But led by the ever consistent Paul Murphy, they ground their way back into it and might have led but for a smart 58th minute save by Rory Beggan from Paul Geaney's shot.
Twice Kerry got to within a point of the home side in the closing stages but experience in these situations counted for Monaghan.
Still the work of Brian O Beaglaoich, Sean O'Shea, Jason Foley and Ronan Shanahan will have made the journey home a lot easier.
From the off however it was obvious that Monaghan were better suited to the testing conditions and within five minutes they had built up a commanding 0-4 to 0-0 lead as Kerry really struggled to get their kick-outs away.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice had to change his midfield pairing on the back of UCD's progress to yesterday's Sigerson Cup final that took Jack Barry and Barry O'Sullivan out of the equation while O'Shea, sidelined for last weekend's postponed fixture with injury, was a late introduction and his pass set up Micheal Burns for the visitors' opening point.
But in contact Monaghan were invariably masters and their dominance continued through the half with Jack McCarron lively at full-forward and Darren Hughes, Karl O'Connell and Dessie Ward all covering the ground with greater ease, it seemed, than any of their opponents.
Monaghan were leading by double scores, 0-8 to 0-4, when referee Cormac Reilly awarded a penalty them a penalty after Kerry goalkeeper Shane Murphy appeared to legitimately knock the ball out of Niall Kearns grasp after the midfielder went to go around him on the back of McCarron's through ball on 20 minutes.
The conversion by Conor McManus gave Murphy no chance and the home side were able to comfortably carry that advantage into the interval when they led by 1-9 to 0-6.
The win, Monaghan's third over Kerry in four years, goes a long way to guaranteeing their presence in the top flight for a fifth successive campaign.
Scorers - Monaghan: C McManus 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-2fs), J McCarron 0-4 (3fs), P McKenna, C Walshe, D Hughes, O Duffy, D Ward, N McAdam all 0-1 each.
Kerry: S O'Shea 0-6 (5fs 1 45), D Clifford 0-3 (2fs), M Burns, BJ Keane, 0-2 each, P Geaney 0-1.
Monaghan: R Beggan; C Walshe, C Boyle, B Kerr; D Mone, D Wylie, K O'Connell; D Hughes, N Kearns; P McKenna, D Malone, D Ward; T Kerr, J McCarron, C McManus. Subs: F Kelly for Mone (h-t), R McAnespie for Malone (44), O Duffy for McKenna (51), N McAdam for T Kerr (61), R Wylie for McCarron (67), K Duffy for Kearns (71)
Kerry: S Murphy; S Enright, J Foley, R Shanahan; P Murphy, A Barry, B O Beaglaoich; B O'Sullivan, P Crowley; M Burns, S O'Shea, S O'Brien; J Savage, P Geaney, BJ Keane. Subs: E O Conchuir for O'Sullivan (21), T O'Sullivan for Barry (h-t), D Clifford for Savage (h-t), D Casey for Crowley (54), K Spillane for Keane (64), M Geaney for O'Brien (71)
Referee: C Reilly (Monaghan)