Wylie outfoxes Donegal as the Farney secure top-flight spot
Monaghan 1-16 Donegal 1-10
Ryan Wylie's goal in the first minute of the second half helped send Monaghan on the road to a win that secured Division 1 status for the Farney for 2019.
Wylie, a half-time substitute, netted with his first involvement in the game and Monaghan pulled away as Donegal wilted in the second-half. The defeat leaves Declan Bonner's men facing a final day shoot-out with Mayo to determine who joins Kildare in falling through the trap door.
Donegal were hit by a virus in the camp that left them without Ryan McHugh, Odhrán Mac Niallais and Martin McElhinney, while a knee injury has ended Patrick McBrearty's league campaign.
Donegal, who had Caolan McGonagle sent off late in the game, couldn't get closer than four points in the second-half as Malachy O'Rourke's men were able to keep them at bay.
"We just knew that we had to up our performance all over the field and as long as we did nothing stupid we would be able to control the game and see it out," O'Rourke said.
"We are happy with what we have seen and we know we have to keep moving on and keep progressing.
"Delighted to stay in Division 1 and, in effect, rather than hanging on to it we have probably finished in third place, or have the chance to do that. We are all very happy."
Donegal boss Declan Bonner said: "Totally frustrating after all the hard work - 35 minutes of hard work was undone in the first minute of the second-half."
When Wylie hammered past Donegal keeper Shaun Patton it gave the Farney - who led 0-9 to 1-5 at the break - a real kick and they added two quick points from Kieran Hughes and Karl O'Connell to push on.
Donegal - who had Paddy McGrath in for his first appearance of 2012 following an injury lay-off - had briefly led when Jamie Brennan clipped a quick-fire 1-1 on the half-hour.
He beautifully hit the net after meandering in around the Monaghan rearguard close to the endline, but two frees by David Garland gave Monaghan the edge at the interval and when Wylie struck gold they were on their way.
Scorers - Monaghan: C McManus 0-5 (2f), R Beggan (3f), D Garland (3f) 0-3 each, R Wylie 1-0, K Hughes, K O'Connell, C McCarthy, D Malone, D Mone 0-1 each
Donegal: M Murphy 0-5 (5f), J Brennan 1-2, N O'Donnell, E Gallagher, C Thompson 0-1 each
Monaghan - R Beggan 7; C Walshe 6, C Boyle 6, K Duffy 7; B Kerr 5, D Wylie 7, K O'Connell 7; K Hughes 7, N Kearns; D Ward, D Malone 7, R McAnespie 6; D Hughes 6, D Garland 7, C McManus 7. Subs: E Wylie 7 for Walshe (h-t) D Mone 7 for Kerr (h-t), C McCarthy 6 for Garland (51) O Duffy 6 for Malone (51), P McKenna 5 for Ward (63), A Lynch 5 for Kearns (70)..
Donegal - S Patton 6; P McGrath 7, C Ward 6, C Morrison 6; E Doherty 6, F McGlynn 7, E Gallagher 6; M Murphy 6, H McFadden 6; C McGinley 5, L McLoone 5, Stephen McBrearty 6, N O'Donnell 7, M Langan 6, J Brennan 7. Subs: M O'Reilly 7 for McGinley (39) N Mullins 5 for McLoone (42) C Thompson 6 for McBrearty (48), D O'Connor 5 for Langan (57), C McGonagle 4 for Ward (63), T McClenaghan 5 for McGlynn (70).
Ref - S Hurson (Tyrone)
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