Allianz Football League Roinn 1
Mayo 0-14 2-14 Monaghan
Allianz FL D1: Monaghan pull off another great escape
Allianz Football League Division 1
MONAGHAN 2-14 MAYO 0-14
Monaghan pulled off another a great escape to preserve their Division 1 status thanks to a hard-fought victory over Mayo.
It’s the fifth time in nine years they’ve clinched survival in the final round and like on most of those previous occasions it was the talismanic Conor McManus who was their saviour in chief.
He finished with a personal tally of 1-7, with the goal coming courtesy of a 77th minute penalty that he dispatched emphatically past Rob Hennelly to make the game safe once and for all.
The win combined with Tyrone’s defeat of Armagh meant Monaghan stayed up and Armagh went down.
A six-point margin on the final score might make this look like a fairly comfortable win, but it was anything but.
Mayo’s experimental looking team gave as good as they got for most of the contest and only trailed by a point at half-time, 1-6 to 0-8, and that was after playing against the wind.
Monaghan’s goal had come after 14 minutes when enterprising defender Ryan O’Toole strode forward and drilled a shot to the net a few minutes after scoring a point.
McManus was prominent in the first half too, scoring a point after just 40 seconds, and would remain the best forward on the pitch throughout, eventually finishing with five points from play and two marks.
Two from him at the start of the second-half gave Monaghan a much needed fillip as they stretched their advantage to three points.
But Mayo never gave up and thanks to the steady free-taking of Paul Towey and some nice scores from the likes of Darren McHale and Jordan Flynn were level by the 55th minute.
It was Monaghan who finished the stronger, though, as Conor McCarthy put their noses in front after 67 minutes and then McManus converted two crucial marks.
The decisive penalty was won by Karl O’Connell, and up stepped McManus to gild his legend even further.
Scorers for Monaghan: C McManus 1-7 (1-0p, 2m), R O’Toole 1-1, J McCarron 0-3 (1m, 1f), S O’Hanlon 0-2, C McCarthy 0-1.
Scorers for Mayo: P Towey 0-6f, J Flynn, B Tuohy 0-2 each, S Coen, M Ruane, D McHale, R O’Donoghue (f) 0-1 each.
MAYO: R Hennelly; D McHugh, P O’Hora, S Callinan; M Plunkett, J Doherty, S Coen; B Tuohy, M Ruane; K McLoughlin, F Irwin, J Flynn; C McStay, A O’Shea, P Towey. Subs: D McBrien for McHugh (ht), D McHale for McLoughlin (inj 37), J Coyne for O’Hora (48), J Carney for Irwin (57), R O’Donoghue for Towey (64).
MONAGHAN –R Beggan; R O’Toole, K Duffy, T McPhillips; K O’Connell, R Wylie, C McCarthy; D Hughes, K Lavelle; S O’Hanlon, M Bannigan, S Carey; K Gallagher, C McManus, J McCarron. Subs: G Mohan for Carey (ht), K Hughes for McCarron (59), S Jones for Gallagher (68), J Irwin for O’Hanlon (74).
Ref: D Gough (Meath)