Paul Finlay was the hero for Monaghan as he kicked a last-gasp point to see off Galway on a 0-13 to 0-12 scoreline and secure promotion from Allianz Football League Division Two at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones.
Monaghan led by 0-08 to 0-05 at half-time, having had the advantage of a strong diagonal wind. Galway eventually managed to draw level in stoppage-time, only for Finlay to land a dramatic winner.
The Ballybay stalwart’s point ensured a second successive promotion for Monaghan and also sets up an Allianz Football League Division Two final against Donegal at Croke Park.
The defeat meant that Galway had an anxious wait for results elsewhere before their survival in the division was confirmed.
Galway never led in the game and fell 0-04 to 0-00 behind after nine minutes when Monaghan used the wind to push ahead with scores from Dessie Mone, Stephen Gollogly, Conor McManus and Colin Walshe.
Galway, who hit eight wides to Monaghan’s seven in the opening half, eventually got off the mark through Michael Lundy after 13 minutes, but Monaghan kept pulling away and led by three points at the break.
Gary O’Donnell and Michael Martin hit back after the restart for Galway to reduce the margin to a point, but they couldn’t draw level. Fintan Kelly went forward to kick a superb point and McManus again found the range to restore Monaghan’s goal lead.
Galway again whittled it back to a point with points from Martin and Paul Varley, but Monaghan responded and Finlay and Kieran Hughes hit the target.
Galway were reduced to 14 men for the final 15 minutes when goalkeeper Thomas Healy was sent off following an off-the-ball incident with McManus.
Adrian Varley and Paul Conroy hit back with points for Galway to leave just one between them again with five minutes remaining, before Walsh eventually hit the equaliser as the game slipped into injury-time.
But there was still time for Finlay to win it for Monaghan. He made no mistake from 30 yards in the final move of the match.
Monaghan: R Beggan; P O’Hanlon, D Wylie, F Kelly (0-01); C Walshe (0-01), V Corey, D Mone (0-01); G Doogan, D Clerkin (0-01); K O’Connell, S Gollogly (0-01), C McGuinness; D Malone (0-01), K Hughes (0-01f), C McManus (0-03, 0-02f).
Subs used: D Hughes for Clerkin (35), P Finlay (0-02) for O’Hanlon (41), J McCarron for McGuinness (49), P Donaghy for Gollogly (55), C Galligan for Mone (63),
Galway: T Healy; D O’Neill, F Hanley, J Moore; G Bradshaw, G O’Donnell (0-01), P Varley (0-01); J Kavanagh, T Flynn; M Lundy (0-01), E Hoare, C Mulryan (0-01); M Martin (0-03, 0-01f), P Conroy (0-01f), S Armstrong (0-02, 0-01f).
Subs used: A Varley (0-01) for Hoare (49), M Breathnach for Martin (55), S Walsh (0-01) for Lundy (58), D Cummins for Mulryan (58), K Kelly for Hanley (61), M Farragher for Armstrong (63).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).