Kerry close in on semi-finals with routine win over relegation-threatened Monaghan
Kerry 1-17 Monaghan 1-9
Kerry inched closer to Allianz league semi-finals for the first time in four years with a fourth successive Division One win in Clones.
The visitors turned on the style in the third quarter when they hit six unanswered points in 11 minutes to lead by double scores, 0-12 to 0-6.
They freewheeled from there, interrupted only by a palmed Darren Hughes goal off the underside of the crossbar after good approach work from substitutes Ryan McAnespie and Owen Duffy to cut the deficit to 0-13 to 1-7 on 57 minutes.
But the response was swift with Kieran Donaghy pointing before Paul Murphy intercepted Rory Beggan's quick kick-out and drew the foul with David Moran converting the subsequent penalty.
Donaghy and Moran, in tandem with Johnny Buckley, were dominant as Kerry accumulated eight league points for the first time in Eamonn Fitzmaurice's reign.
Colm Cooper also showed strong signs of recovering his pre-2014 form with a six-point contribution, four from frees.
Progress was slow for both sides in the first half with caution prevailing and they were level on six different occasions with no daylight between them.
Kerry put some decent moves together and Cooper and Darran O'Sullivan linked well while Monaghan's best source of attack was on the counter with Karl O'Connell injecting pace to set up Conor McManus for one point before adding another.
Posting Darren Hughes at full-forward and attempting to hit him with direct ball didn't work for the home side especially with Aidan O'Mahony acting as a screen in front of him.
Kerry had legitimate claims for a penalty in the 34th minute when Cooper was pulled pulled down as he gathered from Murphy but referee David Coldrick ignored it.
Kerry pressed up on the Monaghan kick-out after the restart and it paid huge dividends.
Alan Fitzgerald came off the bench and scored three points from play while Barry John Keane added two.
Overall it was a disappointing Monaghan performance and they are now threatened by relegation after losing four successive games.
Monaghan's Dessie Mone was sent off late in the game for a second yellow card.
Scorers - Kerry: C Cooper 0-6 (4fs), D Moran 1-1 (1-0 pen), A Fitzgerald 0-4 (1f), BJ Keane, K Donaghy 0-2 each, D O'Sullivan, P Murphy 0-1 each.
Monaghan: C McManus 0-5 (3fs), D Hughes 1-0, D Mone, K O'Connell, R McAnespie, R Beggan (f) 0-1 each.
Kerry: B Kelly; S Enright, M Griffin, A O'Mahony; F Fitzgerald, P Crowley, M O Se; D Moran, K Donaghy; D Walsh, P Murphy, J Buckley; D O'Sullivan, C Cooper, S O'Brien. Subs: A Fitzgerald for O'Brien (29), K Young for Crowley (49), BJ Keane for O'Sullivan (56), B O'Sullivan for Buckley (61), P Geaney for Cooper (64), A Walsh for Walsh (68).
Monaghan: R Beggan; R Wylie, D Wylie, C Walshe; V Corey, F Kelly, K O'Connell; N McAdam, K Hughes; D Mone, T Kerr, D Malone; S Carey, D Hughes, C McManus. Subs: O Duffy for Carey (46), R McAnespie for Kerr (46), D Clerkin for Malone (61).
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).