Monaghan scored a nervy 1-10 to 1-06 win over Fermanagh at Clones to advance to the second round of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers.

They had to work hard to finally dispose of the challenge of a stubborn and dogged Fermanagh side who battled to the very end.

Ryan Lyons grabbed a Fermanagh goal after five minutes, but they failed to score in the second quarter as Monaghan fought back to go in front through Vinny Corey, 0-06 to 1-02 at the break.

Rory Beggan saved a Sean Quigley penalty, and Fermanagh had Lee Cullen dismissed, but close the gap to a point, before Conor McCarthy settled it with a stoppage time goal.

Fermanagh finished with 12 players, after Paul McCusker and James McMahon were red-carded.

Fermanagh got off to the perfect start with a goal after just five minutes. Declan McCusker slipped the ball to Ryan Lyons, and he beat Rory Beggan with a low, angled strike to the corner of the net.

Without their captain and inspirational leader Eoin Donnelly, unavailable due to a family bereavement, the Erne men displayed positivity in those early stages, committing more men to attack than they had in the Ulster SFC quarter-final defeat to Donegal, and stretched the lead with a Lyons free.

Adventure duly turned to a more conservative approach as the channelled all 15 men deep into their own half, holding their opponents scoreless until the 14th minute, when Niall Kearns floated over a long range effort.

Daniel Teague and Ryan McAnespie traded points, and the exciting Ultan Kelm made a penetrating run into opposition territory to set up a goal chance for Lyons, but Conor Boyle made a vital challenge to deny the Erne Gaels man a second.

Monaghan created an opening at the other end, Conor McCarthy teeing up Fintan Kelly for a shot, struck sweetly but stopped by Declan McCusker, one of a line of Fermanagh bodies standing firm in the goalmouth.

By now, Fermanagh had firmly re-connected with their dearly held principles of massed defending, but remained dangerous on the counter-attack.

Kieran Hughes fired over a point to close the gap, and on the half-hour, goalkeeper Beggan struck a delightful long range free between the posts from close to the sideline.

The Farney men continued to stretch their opponents, wearing them down with support runners, and going level in the 33rd minute with another Hughes special.

Putting the Fermanagh kick-out under pressure, they went ahead for the first time through Vinny Corey, and with Fermanagh, having failed to score in the second quarter, they trailed by 0-06 to 1-02 at the break.

Monaghan pulled further clear with a free from Conor McManus, having an unusually quiet afternoon, and Kieran Duffy

Their ball-winning percentage around midfield was on the rise all the time, and McManus picked his moment to shine, arrowing over a delightful score to leave three between the sides at the end of the third quarter, but his game was cut short by a black card.

But Fermanagh made another incisive attack through the lightning fast Kelm, who slipped the ball to Conall Jones in front of goal. A rash challenge on the big full forward led to a penalty award, but Sean Quigley’s kick was brilliantly saved by Beggan.

And moments later, in a double blow, the Erne men had defender Lee Cullen dismissed on a straight red card.

However, they came roaring back to reduce the deficit to a point through Conall Jones with eight minutes to play, and they were still just a point adrift after Ciaran Corrigan cancelled out a Jack McCarron free.

But Monaghan punished a bad kick-out, for Hughes to send Conor McCarthy in to punch to the net deep into stoppage time for a clinching score.

And in a bad-tempered finish to the game, Fermanagh had Paul McCusker and James McMahon sent off, finishing with 12 men.

Monaghan: R Beggan (0-01, f); K Duffy (0-01), V Corey (0-01), R Wylie; K O’Connell, C Boyle, D Ward; N Kearns, K Hughes (0-02); R McAnespie (0-01), D Malone, S Carey; C McCarthy (1-01), F Kelly, C McManus (0-02, 1f).

Subs: J McCarron (0-01, f) for Carey (46), D Mone for Ward (51), D Wylie for Corey (57), S O’Hanlon for McManus (BC 59), M Banningan for Malone (65)

Fermanagh: J McGrath; J Cassidy, C Cullen, L Cullen; U Kelm, J McMahon, K Connor; A Breen, R Jones; D Teague (0-01), R Lyons (1-01, 0-01f), C Corrigan (0-01); D McCusker (0-01), C Jones (0-01), B Mulrone.

Subs: S Quigley (0-01, f) for Teague (35), K McDonnell for Mulrone (42), P McCusker for Breen (61), D McGurn for Connor (66), S McGullion for McDonnell (68), C McBrien for Lyons (72)

Referee: M Deegan (Laois).