Mayo 0-13 Monaghan 0-12
Paddy Durcan was the hero for Mayo as his last gasp point ensured Mayo got their NFL division one campaign off to a winning start in an at times fiery affair in Clones.
In difficult underfoot conditions, the Connacht men edged out the home side who finished the day with 12 men after seeing both Barry Kerr and Ryan Wylie red carded while Dermot Malone was black carded late on and couldn’t be replaced as Monaghan had used all their subs.
The home side might feel hard done by however as they had claims on a free that might have won the game for them immediately before Durcan curled over a beauty.
Monaghan played with the aid of the breeze in the first half and made good use of it early on to kick the first two scores of the day.
It would take Mayo nine minutes to open their account and it was almost inevitable that Andy Moran would open their account. The reigning Footballer of the Year clipped over from a tight angle to get Mayo up and running but the home side would continue to have the better of things on the scoreboard with Conor McCarthy, David Garland and Jack McCarron all getting on the scoreboard as Monaghan placed a noted emphasis on kicking long into a full forward line shorn of Conor McManus.
With half time approaching, a Neil Douglas free pushed Mayo into the lead for the first time in the game but Karl O’Connell levelled things up with a fine score to ensure the sides went in level (0-7 each) at the break.
Monaghan kicked six wides in that first half and things didn’t improve for them in that regard on the restart. By the 53rd minute they hit double figures while Mayo were buoyed by two excellent 45s from Neil Douglas.
Stephen Rockford's men looked to be in control when they opened up a three point lead but Monaghan were resilient and cut the gap to one when debutant Niall Kearns landed his second point of the day. A McCarthy free tied up the game before Wylie was red carded after a clash with Aidan O’Shea. Kerr was also sent off in a frenetic finale that saw Colm Boyle helped from the field with what was later confirmed to be a dead leg.
Monaghan went looking for the equaliser and might have been awarded a free before Mayo and Durcan broke up field to secure the points at the death.
SCORERS - Mayo: E Regan 0-5 (4f), N Douglas 0-4 (2f, 2 ’45), P Durcan 0-2, A Moran, E O’Donoghue 0-1 each.
Monaghan: C McCarthy (2f), J McCarron (2f) 0-3 each, D Garland, N Kearns, K O’Connell 0-2 each.
Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrison, G Cafferkey, E O’Donoghue; C Boyle, S Nally, P Durcan; J Gibbons, S Coen; K McLoughlin, A O’Shea, D O’Connor; N Douglas, E Regan, A Moran SUBS: C O’Connor for Douglas (57), D Kirby for D O’Connor (BC 58), C Loftus for Moran (63), S Akram for Nally (66), G McDonagh for Boyle (69).
Monaghan: R Beggan; R Wylie, C Boyle, B Kerr; F Kelly, K Duffy, K O’Connell; D Hughes, N Kearns; O Duffy, P McGuirk, R McAnespie; C McCarthy, J McCarron, D Garland SUBS: P McKenna for O Duffy (41), D Malone for McCarron (53), D Freeman for Garland (56), C Walshe for K Duffy, D Wylie for McGuirk (65), D Ward for McAnespie (70).
Referee: D Gough (Meath).