Mayo picked up their second win in this years National Football League on Sunday in Elverys MacHale Park, when they saw off Monaghan in an ill disciplined affair that saw two Monaghan players sent off, along two black cards being issued by referee Rory Hickey in a contest that was punctured by numerous scuffles off the ball. In truth Hickey seemed to lose control of the game early in the second half as fracas broke out all over the field.
This dismissals of Stephen Gollogly in the first half and Ryan Wiley in the second gave Mayo a two man numerical advantage for the final 15 minutes of the game, but by that stage Mayo were already eight points to the good after Aidan O'Shea grabbed Mayo's first goal of the afternoon.
Despite being named at centre-half-forward before throw-in, Aidan O'Shea was dispatched to the edge of the square and he was the games dominant force, especially when it was still a contest. The Breaffy man finished the day scoring 1-3, but his ability to win his own hard ball and bring his team-mates into the game was as impressive as his scoring return. O'Shea could have scored the first goal of the game as early as the sixth minute when his goal bound shot was well saved by Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan.
Monaghan opened the scoring through Beggan who with a two-step run up bisected the Mayo posts with a well struck free from just beyond the 45m line into the teeth of a gale inside the first minute. O'Shea tied things up shortly afterwards when he finished from close range after being set up by Donal Vaughan.
Cillian O'Connor kicked the first of his five points from frees for the day two minutes later, after Keith Higgins was fouled on a burst forward. Kieran Hughes had things all square after six minutes when he found enough space to turn Tom Cunniffe and sweep it over from the left hand side. Mayo should have had two more scores on the board by that stage, but both O'Shea brothers dropped efforts into the arms of Beggan when they should have done much better.
Daniel McKenna put Monaghan back into the lead with a point from a free after Hughes was fouled by Vaughan, after the Monaghan man had blocked down Vaughan's attempted handpass out from defence and tried to break for goal. With ten minutes gone on the clock, Kevin McLoughlin got in behind the Monaghan defence and shot past Beggan, but his effort was cleared off the line by Dessie Mone.
At this stage of the game Mayo were dominating Monaghan, but failing to make it count on the scoreboard. They were winning all the ball in the middle of the park from both sides kick-outs, but they were not taking their chances.
Another McKenna pointed free put Monaghan two points to the good after 11 minutes after Dermot Malone was pushed in the back as he tried to shoot for goal after being picked out by a great ball from Mone.
After a Mayo wide, Mark Ronaldson managed to intercept a Monaghan kick-out and he fed the ball to Cillian O'Connor. The Ballintubber man found McLoughlin who broke in from the left-hand side, but he dragged his effort just wide of the right-hand post and Monaghan escaped again. Vaughan cut the gap back to a single point and O'Connor leveled it up before the quarter-of-an-hour mark from a free.
The Farney county men responded not long after and McKenna put them back into the lead after 17 minutes. But Mayo were about to take the game by the scruff of the neck, Mark Ronaldson kicked a nice score from play and O'Connor added another free after Aidan O'Shea was fouled. Diarmuid O'Connor got a score after a strong run to put Mayo two clear in the 24th minute. But Monaghan weren't giving up the ghost to early and Stephen Gollogly cut the gap back to just one point. But the afternoon was about to take a very different turn for the Carrickmacross man who was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident out on the MacHale Road side of the ground ten minutes from the break.
Seamus O'Shea joined him for an early shower two minutes later, when he was shown a black card. But thankfully for Mayo they were able to bring on Danny Kirby in his place and not be reduced to 14 men like their opponents. O'Connor and McLoughlin kicked a point each before the break sending Mayo in leading 0-9 to 0-6 at the turn around.
Colm Boyle was sent into the action at the break, replacing Donal Vaughan for Mayo while Darren Hughes came in for Owen Duffy for the visitors. O'Connor got the first score of the half from a free after O'Shea was fouled, but the next two scores went to Malachy O'Rourke's men cutting the gap back to two points, with Mayo kicking a couple of bad wides in between those scores. Seven minutes into the second half and Dermot Malone was shown a black card after he was involved in an incident with Danny Kirby.
From that incident on Mayo put their foot down and scored 2-5 without reply, O'Shea, Diarmuid O'Connor and Ronaldson all kicked points before O'Shea bagged the first goal of the game after 50 minutes. Patrick Durcan won the ball back from a Monaghan kick-out and found O'Shea inside. After missing one goal chance in the fist half, he wasn't going to do the same with his second goal chance and O'Shea finished to the net from close range. Ronaldson added on another point, which was followed by O'Shea's third point and a well finished goal from Alan Freeman who had replaced Cillian O'Connor. In between that burst of scoring Monaghan had been reduced to 13 men when Ryan Wiley was shown a straight red for shoving Ronaldson into the advertising hoardings on the MacHale Road side of the ground and the game was done as a contest.
Mayo saw out the rest of the game at a canter, with Mikie Sweeney bagging Mayo's third goal before the final whistle with Monaghan tagging on some consolation scores before the end.
After the criticism over the manner of their defeat to Tyrone in the previous round, Mayo will be pleased with the way they stood up to the physical challenge posed by the Ulster men. Next Sunday they go looking for their third win, when they hit the road north to Celtic Park and face Derry in round four.
Mayo: A O'Shea (1-3 ), C O'Connor (0-5,5f ), A Freeman (1-0 ), M Sweeney (1-0 ), M Ronaldson (0-3 ), D Vaughan (0-1 ), K McLoughlin (0-1 ), J Doherty (0-1 ), D O'Connor (0-1 )
Monaghan: D McKenna (0-4,2f ), K Hughes (0-2 ), P Finlay (0-2, 2f ), S Gollogly (0-1 ), R Beggan (0-1,1f ), P Meegan (0-1,1f )
Mayo: R Hennelly; T Cunniffe, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, S Coen, P Durcan; D Vaughan, S O'Shea; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, D O'Connor; M Ronaldson, C O'Connor, J Doherty. Subs: D Kirby for S O'Shea (BC ), C Boyle for D Vaughan, A Freeman for C O'Connor, M Forde for K McLoughlin, G Cafferkey for K Keane, M Sweeney for M Ronaldson.
Monaghan: R Beggan; C Boyle, D Wiley, R Wiley; D Mone, F Kelly, K Duffy; N McAdam, P Finlay; K Hughes, S Gollogly, R McAnespie; D Malone, D McKenna, O Duffy. Subs: V Corey for K Duffy, D Hughes for O Hughes, P Donaghy for D Malone (BC ). K O'Connell for F Kelly, P McGuigan for C Boyle, P Meegan for D McKenna
Ref: R Hickey (Clare )