By Dan Bannon
Monaghan used all of their experience to secure their senior status in a six-point victory over neighbours Cavan in the TG4 All-Ireland relegation play-off.
Goals from Ciara McAnespie and Muireann Atkinson midway through each half in Dunleer provided the Farney ladies with the cushion they required to achieve safety.
Wasteful Cavan will rue three missed goal chances, three in the first half alone, a half where they went 18 minutes without scoring.
James Daly's outsiders actually started the brightest opening up a two-point lead through Aisling Maguire and Andrea O'Reilly.
Muireann Atkinson opened Monaghan's account before Ciara Finnegan and Ciara McAnespie traded scores.
With border rivalry adding to the game there was no surprise that there was nothing in it. Smith and Rosemary Courtney illustrated this with two points each. That left it 0-5 to 0-4, however that would be the last time Cavan would lead.
McAnespie found the top left hand corner of the net and Atkinson and Courtney quickly added scores to open up a three-point lead.
Influential midfielder Cora Courtney was sin-binned and that allowed Cavan to end the half and their scoring drought with O'Reilly and Maguire points. Ellen McCarron's free made it 1-7 to 0-7 at half time.
Conditions deteriorated but Cavan's resistance didn't, as they gamely fought back with Aisling Maguire singlehandedly keeping the Breffni ladies in touch with five second half points.
Courtney kept Monaghan's scoreboard ticking over with frees and they were vital as Cavan midfielder Donna English made it a one-point game.
Ciara McAnespie removed all doubt on an upset once she turned provider, powering through and setting up Atkinson for the killer second goal.
Maguire valiantly responded on two occasions for Cavan but they had simply no answer to Monaghan full forward Ellen McCarron, who thundered five points from play to see the game out.
With that Monaghan can look forward to senior football in 2019. Cavan have a relegation final still to play for.
Scorers - Monaghan: E McCarron 0-6 (1f), R Courtney 0-5 (3f), M Atkinson 1-2 (1f), C McAnespie 1-1 and J Drury 0-1.
Cavan: A Maguire 0-9 (5f), C Finnegan 0-2(f), A O'Reilly 0-2, D English and L McVeety 0-1 each.
Cavan: E Baugh; R Doonan, L Fitzpatrick, S Reilly; L McVeety, G McGlade, S Greene; A Cornyn, D English; A O'Reilly, A Maguire, C Smith; C Dolan, A Sheridan, C Finnegan.
Subs: B Farrelly Magee for C Finnegan (49), A Gilsenan for L McVeety (58)
Monaghan: L Martin;R McKenna, F Courtney, J Fitzpatrick; G McNally, S Courtney, A McAnespie; C Courtney, E McAnespie; R Courtney, M Atkinson, J Drury; C McAnespie, E McCarron, T McNally Scott.
Subs: E Woods for R Courtney (49), M Monaghan for A McAnespie (58) N Callan for T McNally Scott (62)
Referee: Kieran McKeever.Tweet