Monaghan 1-09 Kerry 1-17

A third-quarter scoring burst in Clones ensured a fourth successive win for Kerry in Division 1 of the Allianz Football League, all but securing a semi-final place for the first time under manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice.

Talisman attacker Colm Cooper led the scoring with six points while it was a six-point scoring spree between the 37th and 46th minutes that effectively decided the contest.

The sides were level at half-time but that nine-minute period early in the second-half swung the contest Kerry's way and they remained in control from there on.

David Moran added a goal from the penalty spot while Monaghan had Dessie Mone dismissed for a second booking in the 67th minute.

In truth, it wasn't a classic contest with Kerry appearing to toy with a Monaghan side that have now lost four games in a row and is sweating on relegation ahead of next weekend's clash with Donegal.

Kerry came into the contest armed with crucial momentum after turning the corner on a difficult start by winning three games on the spin.

The Kingdom lost their first two matches but wins over Down, Donegal and Mayo allowed them to eye the knock-out stages with intent.

Monaghan's campaign was in direct contrast, however, with wins in their opening two games following by three dispiriting defeats.

That left them facing the prospect of relegation beforehand and there was a nervousness to their play at times in the first-half as they defended in numbers and allowed Kerry to attack.

The Kingdom dominated the possession stakes but found Monaghan's blue and white defensive wall difficult to penetrate.

As a result, 11 minutes passed at one stage without a score for either side. The sides were level six times in the first-half and it was no surprise that they went in deadlocked on 0-06 to 0-06.

Cooper and the lively Darran O'Sullivan buzzed around Kerry's attack with serious intent and picked off five of those points between them.

But Monaghan had a slight wind advantage and used it to score timely points, ensuring there was never more than a point between the sides in the opening half.

Many of Monaghan's attacks came down the right side with a right to left wind aiding them and Conor McManus and Karl O'Connell booted over fine scores from that area.

Kerry took full advantage of the wind upon the restart and a cracker from Paul Murphy ignited a scoring spree of six points without reply.

Alan Fitzgerald, a substitute late in the first-half, kicked two points in that period and four in total as he staked his claim for further inclusion from the start.

Monahgan clawed back a goal when Darren Hughes palmed it in off the bar but a 61st-minute Moran penalty conversion was an immediate and emphatic response from Kerry who were at their leisure in the run in.

Kerry: B Kelly; S Enright, M Griffin, M O'Se; F Fitzgerald, P Crowley, A O'Mahony; K Donaghy (0-02), D Moran (1-01); D Walsh, P Murphy (0-01), J Buckley; D O'Sullivan (0-01), C Cooper (0-06, 0-04f), S O'Brien.

Subs: A Fitzgerald (0-04, 0-01f) for O'Brien, K Young for Crowley, BJ Keane (0-02) for O'Sullivan, B O'Sullivan for Buckley, P Geaney for Cooper, A Walsh for Walsh.

Monaghan: R Beggan (0-01, 0-01f); R Wylie, D Wylie, C Walshe; V Corey, K O'Connell (0-01), F Kelly; N McAdam, K Hughes; D Mone (0-01), T Kerr, D Malone; D Hughes (1-00), C McManus (0-05, 0-03f), S Carey.

Subs: O Duffy for Carey, R McAnespie (0-01) for Kerr, D Clerkin for Malone.

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)

Tomás Ó Sé and James McCartan join Michael Lester for highlights and analysis of the weekend's games on League Sunday tonight - RTÉ2 at 7.30pm