Mayo through to round two of the qualifiers after Monaghan battle
Mayo survived a late penalty claim by Monaghan to book their place in Monday's All-Ireland SFC qualifiers round two draw with a 1-13 to 0-12 victory at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park this afternoon.
Referee Barry Cassidy is unlikely be on Monaghan manager Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney's Christmas card list after he decided not to award a spot kick when a misplaced hand pass by Aidan O'Shea left Conor Leonard in possession in front of the Mayo goal only to be thwarted by Lee Keegan's challenge.
That came three minutes into six added on at the end of the contest with Monaghan just a goal in arrears, the scoreboard reading 1-12 to 0-12.
A late insurance point by Paddy Durcan gave Mayo a four-point win but it was far from comfortable for the Green and Red, who went 20 minutes without a score in the second half.
Cillian O'Connor was Mayo's scorer in chief with 1-6, all bar one from placed balls. The goal came from the penalty spot after an Oisin Mullin shot was blocked by a stray Monaghan foot. O'Connor's finish from the spot was emphatic, and three frees from the Ballintubber man helped Mayo into a 1-7 to 0-7 half-time lead.
Conor McManus, a subdued figure for most of the game who was ultimately replaced going in the closing stages, was black-carded in just the sixth minute for a foul on Aidan O'Shea and Mayo made hay in the June sunshine while he was off the pitch, turning an 0-2 to 0-0 deficit into a 1-3 to 0-2 lead as the Monaghan man was stuck in the stand.
With McManus well shackled on the pitch by an in-form Mayo rearguard, with Enda Hession particularly impressive, Jack McCarron and Gary Mohan led the charge for Monaghan with five points between them, and the Ulster side were hanging onto Mayo's coattails at the break.
The second half was cagey and bereft of incisive football, with Mayo scoring an early free through Cillian O'Connor but going 20 minutes thereafter without a score, despite plenty of possession.
Monaghan, likewise, posed little threat in front of goal and scored just two points in those 20 minutes through Kieran Duffy and Micheál Bannigan, leaving it 1-8 to 0-9 with less that a quarter of an hour remaining.
Lee Keegan lifted the 16,377 attendance with a great point to put a goal between the teams again and Mayo looked like they had broken the Monaghan spirit by going 1-12 to 0-10 up with the regulation 35 minutes played in the second half.
But the announcement of six added minutes lifted Monaghan and points from subs Conor Leonard and Shane Carey (free) left just a goal between them again, and the visitors thought they had a great chance to equalise when Leonard went down under Keegan's challenge. Had the penalty been awarded and scored it would have made it a level game with just a couple of minutes left, but Barry Cassidy saw no foul and Mayo survived, Durcan's late point rubbing salt into Monaghan's wounds.
Mayo: Rob Hennelly (0-1); Lee Keegan (0-1), Oisín Mullin, Enda Hession; Paddy Durcan (0-1), Stephen Coen, Eoghan McLaughlin (0-1); Aidan O’Shea, Matthew Ruane (0-1); Bryan Walsh, Aiden Orme, Diarmuid O'Connor; James Carr, Jack Carney (0-1), Cillian O'Connor (1-6).
Subs: Kevin McLoughlin, Darren McHale (0-1), Conor Loftus, Jason Doherty, Padraig O'Hora.
Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy (0-1), Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie; Karl O'Connell, Dessie Ward, Ryan McAnespie; Darren Hughes, Niall Kearns; Conor McCarthy (0-1), Kieran Hughes, Micheál Bannigan (0-1); Jack McCarron (0-3), Gary Mohan (0-2), Conor McManus (0-1).
Subs: Andrew Woods, Shane Carey (0-2), Conor Leonard (0-1), Sean Jones, Fintan Kelly.
Referee: Barry Cassidy.
*See Tuesday's print edition for a full match report and reaction