Football League: Monaghan edge out Kerry in gripping battle at Inniskeen

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'We were probably hanging on' - Monaghan's Conor McManus relieved with win over Kerry

Monaghan held on during a tense second half to clinch a narrow 1-13 to 0-14 win over Kerry at Inniskeen.

Conor McManus scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot but a 14-man Monaghan side were left clinging-on during a nervous finish.

Barry Kerr was dismissed in the closing stages but points by McManus and Neil McAdam secured the victory.

The Farney men, who also beat Kerry in the league last year, have now moved level with the Kingdom in Divison One.

In damp and dreary conditions, Monaghan made an electric start as they sought to repeat their success in Killarney last season.

Manager Malachy O'Rourke made sweeping changes to his side before throw-in but the hosts scored four unanswered points in the opening four minutes with Jack McCarron getting one from play and another from a free.

Kerry forced their way into contention with scores by Micheal Burns, Paul Geaney and Barry John Keane but Monaghan were able to restore their four point advantage by putting pressure on goalkeeper Shane Murphy's kick outs.

The home side went seven points clear in the 20th minute when Niall Kearns was fouled as he attempted to round the keeper and McManus blasted his penalty past Murphy.

A pair of Sean O Se frees was all that Kerry could muster in response and Monaghan finished the half strongly to lead by 1-9 to 0-6.

Kerry fight back

Monaghan were reduced to 14 men following Barry Kerr's dismissal
Monaghan were reduced to 14 men following Barry Kerr's dismissal

The introduction of teenage star David Clifford at the start of the second half appeared to give Kerry a lift as they cut Monaghan's lead back to three points with O Se and Clifford sharing the free taking responsibilities.

Owen Duffy was sprung from the bench and immediately provided a settling score for Monaghan before Rory Beggan produced an outstanding save to deny Paul Geaney.

Points by Clifford, O Se and Keane brought Kerry back to within a point and the momentum appeared to have swung decisively in the visitors favour when Kerr was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident.

O'Rourke's side were rattled by the dismissal and the addition of four minutes of injury time but McAdam held his nerve to score a crucial point before McManus landed an insurance score with a free in the dying seconds.

Monaghan: R Beggan; C Walshe, C Boyle, B Kerr; D Mone, T Kerr, K O'Connell; D Hughes, N Kearns; D Ward, D Malone, P McKenna; D Wylie, J McCarron, C McManus.

Replacements: S Garland, R Wylie, K Duffy, N McAdam, R McAnespie, P McGuirk, O Duffy, F Kelly, D Freeman, C McCarthy, D Garland.

Kerry: S Murphy; S Enright, J Foley, R Shanahan; P Murphy, A Barry, B O Beaglaioch; B O'Sullivan, P Crowley; M Burns, S O Se, S O'Brien; J Savage, P Geaney, BJ Keane.

Replacements: D Casey, D Clifford, B Kelly, M Flaherty, E O'Conchuir, C Coffey, K Spillane, B O Seanachain, M Geaney, T O'Sullivan, A Spillane.

GAA National Football League - Sunday, 18 February
Division One
Division Two
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