Corner-forward Robert Finnerty scored the only goal as Galway got their Allianz League campaign off to a winning start when they held off a late Monaghan rally to win by 1-14 to 0-16 at Pearse Stadium.

Galway had the breeze in the opening half and led by 1-08 to 0-08 at the end of an enjoyable opening half in front of a crowd of 7,654 at the Salthill venue.

Monaghan got back on level terms in the final quarter but Galway edged again in the closing minutes and held on for victory.

There was little between the sides throughout that half and they were level four times in the opening quarter of an hour after Shane Walsh and Finian Ó Laoí hit early points for the Tribesmen before Conor McManus responded with a brace for Monaghan.

They then twice exchanged points before Galway hit the net when a good move involving Walsh and Michael Boyle was finished to the net by Robert Finnerty to put Galway 1-04 to 0-04 in front after 15 minutes.

But Monaghan rose to the challenge with Kieran Hughes and Conor NcCarthy shooting points to cut the gap to the minimum.

Both sides continued to work the ball well and Galway struck for three in a row, two of them from Walsh and one from a mark by Adrian Varley to lead by four eleven minutes from the interval.

Jack McCarron pulled back a point for Monaghan but they had a lucky escape when a fisted pass from Ryan McAnespie almost ended up in the net before Rory Beggan recovered it.

Monaghan went on the offensive and got a chance to level when Dessie Ward was fouled by Walsh but the penalty from McManus was superbly saved by Galway goalkeeper Connor Gleeson.

Beggan landed a '45 but another good passing movement at the other end was finished when wing-back Gary O’Donnell pointed from the right to lead by 1-8 to 0-8 at the interval.

Galway extended the advantage to five points by the 43rd minute but then Monaghan struck with five points in a row as Kieran Hughes, McManus, Christopher McGuinness, Jack McCarron and Aaron Mulligan all found the range to tie the game at 1-11 to 0-14 with ten minutes left.

Walsh restored Galway’s lead with a free but almost immediately McManus responded with another free and there was a let-off for Galway when full-back Seán Mulkerrin cleared a shot from Christopher McGuinness off the line after Damien Comer had fisted them in front.

Matthias Barrett doubled Galway’s lead to two points but a magnificent free from McManus cut it to one going into five minutes of injury-time but Monaghan were unable to conjure an equaliser as the Tribesmen got their campaign off to a winning start.

Galway: Connor Gleeson; Johnny Heaney, Seán Mulkerrin, Johnny Duane; Garry O'Donnell (0-01), John Daly, Cillian McDaid; Paul Conroy (0-01), Cein D’Arcy (0-01); Michael Boyle, Finian Ó Laoí (0-01), Michael Daly; Adrian Varley (0-01, 0-01 mark), Shane Walsh (0-06, 0-05f), Robert Finnerty (1-01). 

Subs used: Damien Comer (0-01) for Boyle (32), Eamonn Brannigan for Ó Laoí (48), Liam Costello for Varley (60), Matthias Barrett (0-01) for Conroy (60), Sean Kelly for M Daly (66).

Monaghan: Rory Beggan (0-01, 0-01 45); Kieran Duffy (0-01), Ryan Wylie, Conor Boyle; Dessie Ward, Karl O'Connell, Michael Bannigan; Darren Hughes, Niall Kearns; Ryan McAnespie (0-01), Conor McCarthy (0-01), Dermot Malone; Kieran Hughes (0-02), Jack McCarron (0-02, 0-01f), Conor McManus (0-06, 0-02f, 0-01 mark).

Subs used: Aaron Mulligan (0-01) for Bannigan (45), Christopher McGuinness (0-01) for Malone (55), Shane Carey for McCarthy (58), Andrew Woods for McCarron (68).Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).