Monaghan 0-11 1-14 Kerry

Dick Clerkin and Anthony Maher
Monaghan captain Dick Clerkin attempts to get away from Kerry's Anthony Maher

Monaghan captain Dick Clerkin's decision to play against the wind in the first half backfired as Kerry eased to a six-point NFL win at Inniskeen.

Kerry moved into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead and despite a brief scoring lull, then pushed on to lead 1-9 to 0-1 at half-time with Declan O'Sullivan netting.

Monaghan cut Kerry's lead in the second half but the damage had been done.

Despite the defeat, Monaghan could still avoid relegation if they beat Mayo next weekend.

David Geaney hit three points while Kieran O'Leary contributed two scores before O'Sullivan hit 1-1 in the moments before the interval.

Monaghan started without several injured regulars including key men Vinny Corey, Paul Finlay and Eoin Lennon.

Darren Hughes and Tommy Freeman didn't start because of fitness concerns but manager Eamon McEneaney introduced the duo at half-time.

Hughes set up an immediate point after the break but while Monaghan chipped away at Kerry's lead, a comeback was never on.

Kerry played well within themselves in the second period with Paul Galvin, Geaney and O'Leary keeping the scoreboard ticking along.

Conor McManus finished on four points for Monaghan but it was the county's fifth straight defeat after the apparently false-dawn opening win over Galway.

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