Galway 0-8 Monaghan 0-16
Kerry for the holidays then. Fairly bloodless in the end as Monaghan’s desire overwhelmed a listless Galway who will be forgiven by anyone not of green and gold extraction if the distraction of an incoming date with Dublin in next Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final.
Monaghan face Tyrone or Donegal on the Sunday.
Strange game in a congested city elbowing its way into race week (whose bright idea was that?). Under a stifling Salthill sun Galway were not the razor sharp outfit we've seen all summer. The locals were baking, Monaghan supporters arrived in pure championship mode but something was off with the men Kevin Walsh sent into battle. Just a little shows on these days. Shane Walsh fluffed an early free.
Monaghan were hustling them down back alleys and raided out of defence mainly via the silky, slippery Karl O’Connell.
At least Declan Kyne was on his game. If the corner back was a little off he would have been devoured whole by Conor McManus (see Kerry's Mark Griffin was a fortnight past). The travelling Monaghan hoards in the 15,200 crowd let out a roar after some off the ball, and miles from the play, activity left McManus on the turf. This happened more than once, which prompted Malachy O'Rourke to confront Conor Lane as the players trotted into shade. Just giving the Cork official something to chew over at half-time.
Still, Monaghan led 0-7 to 0-5 and it should have been more. Ryan Wylie’s left toe left a goal out there. McManus hit the post with a free he’d normally post in his sleep.
Then came more growl than roar: Kerry were four points shy of Kildare at the turn in Killarney.
Strange evening altogether now.
With McManus shackled, different Monaghan scorers were required. Ryan McAnespie stood tallest with 0-4 from play. Vinny Corey sauntered up field to thump a point, Darren Hughes' effort was a gift and Colin Walshe drilled one after being left alone in acres of grass.
McAnespie’s second made it 0-7 to 0-3 before the Galway crowd half offered up their disgust (there were more Monaghan whites than maroon along the three sided terraces).
If McManus awoke Kerry were doomed. And so he did. Not three minutes into the second half the sharpest shooting forward in the country punched a nifty point.
Kingdom dwellers who were hanging onto their annual Dublin trip next weekend thanks to a Paul Geaney goal but, really, this contest was cooked miles from home.
Placed balls did to Kerry what Monaghan really should have done to them in the Clones draw. In fairness to McManus and Rory Beggan, they finished the job here.
Shane Carey could have stuck the knife in with 10 minutes to play - and Monaghan already seven clear - but he spurned another goal chance.
The Super 8s have a clear flaw but everyone in this half championship dance moves on. Galway have a week to escape this slump (some horrible shooting needs fixing and Seán Ó Ceallaigh was carried off). Monaghan have the ugliest of Ulster scraps to reach an All-Ireland final and all their September dreams can come gushing through.
Nearly there. Their pitch invasion afterwards was both comical and cool to witness.
Drew Wylie got a standing ovation after a late scuffle with Damien Comer delivered his second yellow and an early walk. Comer and Colin Walshe also saw red from two yellows but this wasn't a vicious affair.
No, that comes next.
GALWAY: R Lavelle; E Kerin, SA O'Ceallaigh, D Kyne; C Sweeney, G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell (0-1); P Cooke (0-1), T Flynn; S Kelly, S Walsh (0-2, 0-2 frees), E Brannigan (0-2); I Burke (0-1), D Comer (0-1), A Varley.
Replacements: P Sweeney for Varley (43 mins), C Duggan for Cooke (52), J Heaney for O’Ceallaigh (58), D Wynne for Kerin (63), D Cummins for Burke (68).
MONAGHAN: R Beggan (0-1, 0-1 free); K Duffy, D Wylie, R Wylie; K O'Connell, C Walshe (0-1), V Corey (0-1); N Kearns, D Hughes (0-2); F Kelly, D Malone (0-1), S Carey; C McCarthy (0-1), R McAnespie (0-4), C McManus (0-5, 0-4 frees).
Replacements: J McCarron for McCarthy (59), N McAdam for Kearns (63), P McKenna for Carey (66), Mone for O’Carroll (69).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).