Monaghan cruised to a 27-point victory over Waterford in Dungarvan to book their place in Round 3 of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.
First-half goals from Conor McManus, via a penalty, Karl O’Connell and Fintan Kelly broke the hosts’ resolve to help Malachy O’Rourke’s side to a 3-11 to 0-04 half-time lead before substitutes Dessie Mone and Shane Carey raised further green flags after the break in a dominant performance.
In a novel pairing, the sides were clashing for the first time ever in Championship action, with both teams coming off the back of contrasting results.
While Waterford were on a high following their morale-boosting qualifier victory over Wexford, Monaghan, by contrast, were aiming to bounce back after a late upset to O’Rourke’s native Fermanagh.
O’Rouke had named two changes from the 15 that lost to Fermanagh, with Dermot Malone and Conor McCarthy in for Dessie Ward and Kieran Hughes.
Happy to see his side get back on track, Monaghan manager O'Rourke explained after the win that Kieran Hughes' notable absence from the Farney match-day panel was down a hamstring injury.
However, the Monaghan boss made three further switches ahead of the throw-in as Dessie Mone, Ryan Wylie and Kieran Duffy all dropped to the bench with Colin Walshe, Conor Boyle and debutant Barry Kerr coming in.
Farney captain Walshe kicked his side’s first score inside the opening minute and they had built a six-point lead by the time Waterford opened their account via a Kieran Power point following a patient and well-worked move from the hosts.
Waterford would only register three more scores in the first-half as Monaghan – playing in their change blue strip – produced a disciplined defensive performance.
Racking up their own scores, McManus was first to find the net in the 20th minute, via the penalty spot, after Ryan McAnespie was brought down in a congested Déise square.
McAnespie was a lively presence throughout the opening half, working in tandem with Jack McCarron before a speeding Karl O’Connell emerged from his left-wing-back slot to raise a second green flag in the 33rd minute.
The floodgates were opened as midfielders Niall Kearns and Darren Hughes kicked quick-fire points before Fintan Kelly scored his side’s third goal in first-half injury-time after a Conor McCarthy pass.
Despite being outclassed, Waterford showed admirable pride and fighting effort on the resumption – Jason Curry’s 49th-minute free marking the only time they hit consecutive, unanswered scores.
McCarthy kept the scoreboard ticking over for Monaghan prior to testing Waterford keeper Stephen Enright, who produced a final double save only for Mone to blast home the rebound on the third attempt on 53 minutes.
Waterford were unlucky not to raise their own green flag as JJ Huthinson hit the post, but McCarthy was once again central to Monaghan’s next goal as he played in substitute Shane Carey to finish.
Monaghan: R Beggan 0-02f; B Kerr, D Wylie, C Boyle 0-01; C Walshe 0-01, V Corey 0-01, K O’Connell 1-00; N Kearns 0-02, D Hughes 0-02; R McAnespie 0-01, D Malone, F Kelly 1-00; C McCarthy 0-03, J McCarron 0-04 (3f), C McManus 1-01 (1-00 pen, 1f).
Subs: S Carey 1-00 for V Corey ht, R Wylie for D Wylie ht, D Mone 1-01 for C Walshe 44, N McAdam for D Hughes 44, K Duffy for B Kerr (BC) 45, D Garland 0-02 for C McManus 55.
Waterford: S Enright; T O’Gorman, J Mullaney 0-01, J McGrath; B Looby, M Curry, S Ryan; T Prendergast, K Power 0-01; G Crotty 0-01, D Guiry, A Trihy; C Murray 0-01, JJ Hutchinson, J Curry 0-04f.
Subs: S Prendergast 0-01 for J McGrath 41, J Allen for D Guiry 41, M Cummins for B Looby 54, J Veale for J Curry 57, E O’Brien for JJ Hutchinson 65, M Kiely for A Trihy 70.
Referee: Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary).