Allianz Football League Division One
Galway 1-13 Monaghan 0-10
By Billy Coss at Pearse Stadium
A 63rd minute Johnny Heaney goal proved game-defining as Galway turned in a dominant second half to secure a valuable Division One victory over Monaghan in Salthill.
The Tribesman trailed by 0-8 to 0-7 at the break and despite playing the entire second half with 14 men following a straight red card for Peter Cooke, they would go on outscore the Farney County by 1-6 to just two points from there to the finish.
Monaghan had first use of wind advantage and the sides traded on parity five times during the opening 35 minutes.
The visitors’ tally arrived courtesy of two early Seán Jones scores, a couple of distance frees from Beggan, and further efforts from Conor McCarthy, Killian Lavalle, Michael Bannigan and Dessie Ward.
Paul Conroy, Rob Finnerty and Matthew Tierney notched three points apiece on the day, and along with Cooke accounted for Galway’s first half return.
Cooke’s dismissal followed an off-the-ball tangle with Bannigan and after Beggan pointed the resultant free, Monaghan went in armed with a slender advantage on the scoreboard but more significantly in personnel for the second half.
Their position improved further when Beggan floated over another off the deck after the restart, but Galway soon took over with the elements at their backs.
Defenders John Daly and Seán Kelly broke forward for key scores, Johnny Heaney clipped another, and though Beggan’s fourth of the day levelled matters for the final time, a far more efficient Galway soon pulled clear.
Shane Walsh was introduced for his first action of this year’s National League and Galway also sprung another All-Star in Cillian McDaid to good effect.
Back-to-back Rob Finnerty points opened a little daylight before the key moment came seven minutes from the end of normal time. Cathal Sweeney latched onto a Paul Conroy free that broke in the Monaghan square before feeding the in-rushing Johnny Heaney to finish.
That left Monaghan past the point of no return and their shooting woes were summed up by nine second half wides at the Árus Bóthar na Trá end.
They slip into the relegation zone, while Galway move up to third.
Scorers for Galway: Johnny Heaney 1-1, Rob Finnerty, Paul Conroy (2f) and Matthew Tierney (2f) 0-3 each, Peter Cooke, John Daly and Seán Kelly 0-1 each.
Scorers for Monaghan: Rory Beggan 0-4 (4fs), Seán Jones 0-2, Killian Lavelle, Dessie Ward, Conor McCarthy (f) and Michael Bannigan 0-1 each.
Galway: Connor Gleeson; Johnny McGrath, Eoghan Kelly, Sean Kelly; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Daniel O’Flaherty; Paul Conroy, Matthew Tierney; Paul Kelly, Johnny Heaney, Peter Cooke; Patrick Kelly, Rob Finnerty, Cathal Sweeney.
Subs: Shane Walsh for Patrick Kelly (42), Cillian McDaid for Paul Kelly (53), John Maher for O’Flaherty (64), Cian Hernon for Sweeney (70+3), Ryan Monaghan for Finnerty (70+5).
Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Ryan Wylie, Ryan O’Toole, Thomas McPhillips; Conor Boyle, Dessie Ward, Kieran Duffy (captain); Darren Hughes, Killian Lavelle; Stephen O’Hanlon, Michael Bannigan, Conor McCarthy; Karl Gallagher, Seán Jones, Fintan Kelly.
Subs: Shane Carey for Kelly (half-time), Karl O’Connell for Wylie (41), Conor McManus for Jones (48), Kieran Hughes for Gallagher (66), Colm Lennon for Darren Hughes (70+3).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).