Patrick McBrearty struck a late point to give Donegal an unlikely share of the spoils in a rousing league encounter with Monaghan at MacCumhaill Park.

Monaghan were totally dominant in the opening half - they created seven goal-scoring chances but took only three.

The Farney men led 3-07 to 1-08 at the break and when they added a fourth goal from Conor McManus they seemed to be on their way.

But Donegal, despite losing captain Michael Murphy after just four minutes, chipped away and got a draw.

Overall, it was a fantastic game of attacking football and both sides will learn a lot from the game ahead of the championship.

There was a whirlwind start to the game with six points in six minutes, shared equally. Donegal went 3-1 ahead but Monaghan's pace up front was already evident.

By the water break, Monaghan were in control, firing home two goals, both from corner-forward Conor McCarthy.

The first came on 10 minutes when he found space and dummied twice to leave a tap in while he was on the end of a good Karl O'Connell run on 17 minutes to fire home the second and put his side ahead by 2-04 to 0-04.

The second goal came despite Monaghan being down to 14 with Conor Boyle picking up a black card on 12 minutes.

It would get worse for Donegal just after the break when McCarthy broke the Donegal line once more to complete his hat-trick.

Oisin Gallen had a Donegal point and Michael Langan breathed some life back into the home side with a fantastic finish after cutting through the Monaghan defence.

But it was Monaghan were were still the most dangerous and by half-time they were 3-07 to 1-08 ahead, this despite losing full-back Conor Boyle to a second black card on the half-hour mark.

McBrearty hit a couple of frees for Donegal but Aaron Mulligan, Micheal Bannigan and Karl O'Connell added the Monaghan points.

McManus came in for Monaghan at half-time but Donegal again started well, with points from Caolan McGonagle and Gallen to one from Andrew Walsh for Monaghan.

Eoin McHugh cut the lead to three before Monaghan struck for their fourth goal - Stephen O'Hanlon made the opening and McManus applied the finish.

Donegal did hit three in-a-row to cut the lead to 4-9 to 1-14 at the second half water break, but they had lost Dáire Ó Baoill to a second yellow card by that stage.

Patrick McBrearty cut the lead to two but it should have been all square as he then blazed over.

McManus and Aaron Mulligan added frees while Niall O'Donnell left a goal in it with four minutes of normal time left.

Donegal would hit the final four points to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat.

DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Neil McGee, Brendan McCole; Paul Brennan, Ryan McHugh, Peadar Mogan (0-01); Hugh McFadden, Caolan McGonagle (0-01); Ciaran Thompson (0-02), Niall O'Donnell (0-02), Michael Langan (1-01); Patrick McBrearty (0-08 (3f, 1 fm)), Michael Murphy, Oisin Gallen (0-03).

Subs: Dáire Ó Baoill for Murphy 4; Eoin McHugh (0-01) for P Brennan ht; Odhrán Mac Niallais for H McFadden 45; Stephen McMenamin for N McGee 53; Paddy McGrath for E Ban Gallagher 60 (0-01); Jason McGee for McCole 61

MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy, Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie; Karl O'Connell (0-01), Karl McMenamin, Ryan McAnespie (0-01); Darren Hughes, Killian Lavelle; Stephen O'Hanlon, Aaron Mulligan (0-03 (2f)), Micheal Bannigan (0-02 (1f)); Conor McCarthy (3-01), Andrew Woods (0-01), Sean Jones.

Subs: Conor McManus (1-02 (2f)) for Jones ht; Shane Hanratty for Bannigan 42; Niall Kearns for Woods 52; Jack McCarron for O'Hanlon; Colin Lennon for O'Connell both 57; Gary Mohan for Mulligan 70+4

REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry)