Roscommon’s top flight run ended in Inniskeen as Monaghan maintained control throughout to go joint top of Division One.
Kevin McStay’s team would need two wins against Dublin and Cavan, Cavan to draw their other game, Mayo to lose twice and scoring difference to fall right. In reality, the Connacht side will be back in Division Two in 2018.
Monaghan don’t get the credit they deserve but have been one of the most consistent teams in the country. Three early points from Conor McManus and Jack McCarron (2) in five minutes gave them a lead they relinquished just once before a strong finish had them 0-12 to 0-8 ahead at half-time.
Dessie Ward, Darren Hughes, McCarron and McManus made it 0-7 to 0-3 before Roscommon got level by the 25th minute. Ciarain Murtagh converted three early frees and two more for him along with Conor Devaney and Gary Patterson brought parity.
Monaghan pushed ahead with a McCarron hat-trick, McManus and Shane Carey giving them their four-point lead. The teams shared the first four scores of the second half before Monaghan’s first goal on 52 minutes. Darren Hughes’ powerful run was finished to the net by McCarron and points for Owen Duffy and Fintan Kelly put nine between them.
Monaghan’s second arrived on the hour mark with Duffy finishing to the net ensuring the home sides’ win. Dessie Ward got Malachy O’Rourke’s team their final point though Roscommon finished strongly.
Enda Smith and Devaney raised white flags either side of Tadgh O’Rourke’s 67th minute consolation goal. The Rossies’ next task is to try stop Dublin in Croke Park. For Monaghan, they sit on seven points with three others ahead of a grandstand finish for two final spots.
Monaghan – Jack McCarron 1-7, Conor McManus 0-4, Owen Duffy 1-1, Dessie Ward 0-2, Darren Hughes 0-1, Shane Carey 0-1, Fintan Kelly 0-1.
Roscommon – Ciarain Murtagh 0-6, Tadgh O’Rourke 1-0, Conor Devaney 0-2, Donie Smith 0-2, Gary Patterson 0-1, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-1, Enda Smith 0-1.
Monaghan – Rory Beggan; Fintan Kelly, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Ryan McAnespie, Neil McAdam, Karl O’Connell; Darren Hughes, Kieran Hughes; Dessie Ward, Shane Carey, Gavin Doogan; Kieran Duffy, Jack McCarron, Conor McManus.
Roscommon – Darren O’Malley; Sean McDermott, Thomas Featherston, Niall McInerney; Gary Patterson, Sean Mullooly, David Murray; Tom Corcoran, Tadgh O’Rourke; Fintan Cregg, Conor Devaney, Enda Smith;