Late Mayo scoring burst consigns Monaghan to another defeat

The Farney side have a few injury concerns ahead of their Championship campaign

Monaghan's Michael Bannigan enjoys the evolution of the modern game despite the criticisms
Mícheál Bannigan Mícheál Bannigan (left) scored four points for Monaghan but went off injured towards the end of the defeat to Mayo

Allianz Football League Division One, round seven

Monaghan 1-14 Mayo 2-13

MONAGHAN will be hoping that their injury list clears up ahead of their Ulster SFC derby with Cavan after signing off on their 10-year stint in Division One with a narrow loss to Mayo in Clones.

Although there was little on the line, with Monaghan’s relegation already confirmed, the teams served up a slow-burning game that eventually built to an exciting finish, where Mayo hit the last 1-2 to turn a three-point deficit around.

Despite playing more than half of the game with 14 men and finishing with 13, Monaghan looked for long spells like they were in line to stop their losing run, only for Mayo to steal the points, spurred on by a late goal from Matthew Ruane.

Hamstring strains saw Dessie Ward, Mícheál Bannigan and the returning Conor Leonard join Stephen O’Hanlon and Ryan McAnespie on the sideline for Monaghan, who also lost Killian Lavelle to a facial injury just before half-time.

Vinnie Corey said: “That has been the nature of the League for us, injuries have been relentless, but we’ll keep working at it and hope that they clear up.

“Killian Lavelle’s eye swelled up, so we didn’t take any risks, but he should be fine in a day or two. Mícheál Bannigan seemed to tighten up so we took him off as a precaution and Dessie Ward seemed to do the hamstring.

‘’Results have been disappointing, but the game-time that younger players have got has been positive. It’s full steam ahead for the Cavan match.”

Monaghan had started brightly with points from Jason Irwin and Gary Mohan, but a brace of frees by Ryan O’Donoghue got Mayo up and running and although Karl O’Connell regained the hosts’ advantage, the lead changed hands again on 12 minutes when Darren McHale blasted home the opening goal.

A Matthew Ruane point moved Mayo three clear, but they then went 14 minutes without adding to their tally, allowing Monaghan to get back on level terms via Bannigan (two) and Ciarán McNulty. They were reduced to 14 men, however, after an off-the-ball incident led to Andrew Woods being sent off.

An Aidan O’Shea free ended Mayo’s scoring drought, but points from Seán Jones and Bannigan had Monaghan 0-8 to 1-4 up at half-time.

Monaghan were first out of the traps for the second half with points by Jones and David Garland, although O’Donoghue replied with another brace. Barry McBennett and Bannigan kept Monaghan just ahead, but Mayo stayed in touch via Ruane and sub Cillian O’Connor.

Fergal Boland and McHale brought Mayo level inside the last 10 minutes, before Monaghan got a much-needed boost when Kevin Loughran hit the net after good work by Bannigan.

The home side, who lost the lively Bannigan to injury after using all of their subs, gifted Mayo an equalising goal, however, when Ruane pounced on a turnover deep inside their half to slot home. The visitors added points from O’Donoghue and Pádraig O’Hora to seal their fourth win of the League.

Monaghan D McDonnell; C Lennon, K Lavelle, R O’Toole; K O’Connell (0-1), R Wylie, D Ward; G Mohan (0-1m), D Hughes; C McNulty (0-1m), M Bannigan (0-4, 2f), J Irwin (0-2); C McCarthy; A Woods, S Jones (0-2).

Subs D Garland (0-2, 1f, 1m) for Ward, K Loughran (1-0) for Lavelle (both inj., 34); B McBennett (0-1) for Jones (46); C Leonard for Mohan (49); M McCarville for Leonard (inj., 54); J Wilson for Hughes (61)

Mayo R Byrne; P O’Hora (0-1), E O’Donoghue, R Brickenden; E Hession, J Coyne, S Callinan; M Ruane (1-2), S Coen; D McBrien, D McHale (1-1), P Durcan; R O’Donoghue (0-5f), A O’Shea (0-1f), T Conroy

Subs M Plunkett for Callinan (inj., 25); C O’Connor (0-2, 1f, 1m) for McBrien (H-T); F Boland (0-1) for Durcan, J Carr for E O’Donoghue (both 49); B Tuohy for O’Shea (60)

Referee N Cullen (Fermanagh).