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Kerry laid down a marker as they saw off a previously unbeaten Donegal by 1-13 to 1-8 in a niggly contest in Tralee.
The tone was set for this physical, bruising match-up early on when a mass brawl was triggered by Kieran Donaghy and Michael Murphy scuffling for the ball after the whistle had blown.
Although no players were dismissed, just two minutes later the Kingdom’s Alan Fitzgerald got his marching orders for leathering Neil McGee off the ball, the Donegal player needing lengthy treatment to his face as a result of the strike.
The attritional nature of the match was summed up by the fact that of the 10 first half points only two were from open play.
Donegal went into the break four points behind and having also had a man sent off, Leo McLoone receiving a straight red for striking Aidan O’Mahony.
The 2012 All-Ireland champions hit back after the restart to square the game at 0-7 apiece but a pair of points and a Peter Crowley goal saw Kerry go back ahead by five points.
Although Murphy pulled a goal back late on, points from Barry John Keane and Colm Cooper ensured Kerry had a relatively comfortable last few minutes.
In a thrilling encounter, two frees from Robbie Hennelly sealed the crucial win and means Stephen Rochford’s side can now start to look up the table.
For the hosts it was a second loss on-the-bounce but the early signs were that their defensive screen might be too much for Mayo to think their way around.
However, with Conor McManus well marshalled by Ger Cafferkey, Monaghan found it difficult to get the scores their performance otherwise warranted with a number of wides keeping Mayo in the contest.
Having trailed by 1-5 to 1-2, Mayo then outscored their opponents between the 21st and 45th minute by 1-5 to 0-0 to establish a healthy lead.
Frees from the boot of McManus helped Monaghan claw their way back to parity but Hennelly’s late brace nudged Mayo back ahead and clinched a vital win.
Roscommon registered their third win in-a-row in the top division as they cruised past a poor Down by 1-12 to 0-6 in Pearse Park in Longford.
Ciaran Murtagh starred for the Connacht side, scoring 1-6 to ensure they followed up wins against Cork and Kerry.
Darragh O’Hanlon and Connaire Harrison (free) put Down two points ahead early on but Roscommon quickly hit back, knocking over six unanswered points, four coming from Murtagh.
The gap was three at the break but Roscommon quickly pulled clear after the restart and Murtagh’s late penalty sealed a comfortable victory.
In Allianz Football League Division 2, Meath claimed a share of the spoils in
dramatic fashion against Galway as they drew 1-12 0-15 at Pearse Park.
Meath had led by nine points, 1-8 to 0-2, at the break after dominating the first period.
However, the Tribesmen hit back in style to lead by 0-15 to 1-9 with just four minutes left on the clock.
But three late unanswered points saw the Royals fight back to rescue a draw.