A strong finish saw Monaghan power their way to a convincing nine points victory over the defending Division 1 league champions at St Tiernach's Park in Clones.

A 63rd minute goal from Kieran Duffy proved to the score that finally broke Mayo’s resistance on a disappointing day for the visitors in front of a crowd of 7,346.

This was a second defeat of the campaign for the Westerners while they also had Jordan Flynn and Padraig O’Hora sent off in the last quarter after they were both booked twice by referee Anthony Nolan after separate incidents.

This was Monaghan’s first victory over Mayo in three attempts in this competition and moves them into third place in the league table, coming in the wake of a win over Tyrone and a pulsating draw with Dublin two weeks ago. 

Mayo had come out of the blocks quickly with scores from Padraig O'Hora, Ryan O’Donoghue and Darren Coen easing the visitors into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.

James Horan’s charges were still setting the pace midway through the second quarter before a 24th minute goal from man of the match Conor McCarthy pushed Monaghan ahead for the first time.

The nip-and-tuck nature of the contest continued right up to the interval and the teams were deadlocked at half-time (1-5 to 0-8) after the aforementioned Darren Coen and Diarmuid O’Connor hit the target for Mayo.

The third quarter was where Seamus McEnaney’s men began to make their move with Conor McManus and Conor McCarthy coming to the fore.

The duo both clipped a couple of scores to leave Monaghan ahead by three points after 55 minutes with former All Stars Colin Walshe and Keith Higgins both coming into the fray to try and tip the scales.

Two watershed moments then arrived in the space of sixty seconds with Mayo losing Jordan Flynn to a second booking before Monaghan’s Kieran Duffy goaled to push the eventual winners into a five point lead.

The homeside never looked back after that with a string of scores arriving in quick succession from Conor McManus (2, one from a mark) and Conor Boyle to close the game out.

Mayo defender Padraig O’Hora also received his marching orders in the closing stages, and while debutant Paul Towey did pull a score back, Monaghan finished with a flourish.

They had the last words courtesy of late scores from Shane Carey and a Jack McCarron free.

Monaghan travel to Donegal next Sunday to face the Ulster champions in Ballyshannon while Mayo, who are now facing the prospect of a relegation battle, welcome high-flying Kerry to Castlebar next Saturday evening.

Monaghan: R Beggan (0-1, 1f); D Wylie, C Boyle (0-1), K Duffy (1-0); K O’Connell (0-1), R Wylie, M Bannigan; D Hughes, N Kearns (0-1); R McAnespie, C McCarthy (1-3), D Ward; D Malone, K Hughes, C McManus (0-6, 3fs, 1mark).

Subs: J McCarron (0-2, 1f) for D Malone; C Walshe for D Wylie; S Carey (0-1) for Bannigan; C McGuinness for McManus; P Keenan for Kearns.

Mayo: R Hennelly; P O’Hora (0-1), O Mullin (0-1), L Keegan; S Coen, M Plunkett, P Durcan; D O’Connor (0-1, 1f), A O’Shea; F Boland, R O’Donoghue (0-1), J Flynn (0-1); K McLoughlin (0-3, 2fs), D Coen (0-3), J Durcan (0-1, 1mark).

Subs: T Conroy for Boland; K Higgins for J Durcan; P Towey (0-1) for D Coen; C Loftus for R O’Donoghue; E O’Donoghue for Plunkett.

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow)