Monaghan secured their Nicky Rackard Cup status with relegation play-off victory against Louth by three points 4-17 to 2-20 in Crossmaglen.
Mark Treanor’s late goal proved to be the difference between the sides at the final whistle with Stephen Lambe scorer of Monaghan’s goals at either end of the game.
The Farney men’s goose looked cooked when substitute Paddy Finnegan was dismissed on for a second bookable offence just five minutes after coming on.
Monaghan manager Trevor Hilliard was sent to the stand remonstrations with referee James Clarke.
Though with Fergal Rafter in clinical form from placed balls and Conor Flynn converting from a myriad of angles, Monaghan hung in for just long enough to keep Louth on egde.
Monaghan led 2-10 to 1-12 at the interval, Rafter shooting the final four points of a half in which Louth were by far the better of the sides.
Lambe, in the third minute, and Brian McGuigan got Monaghan goals, but Stephen Kettle ensured Louth raised a green flag of their own before the turnaround.
The early period of the second half saw Monaghan on top, though Louth returned serve with interest to lead by three on three occasions.
Deane was really coming to the fore from centre-field, but a Rafter free cut the gap and when Murphy shot past Connolly who had earlier pulled off a miracle stop – it was left to Geoghegan to draw Louth level.
And then came the cruellest of cruel turns. Kevin Crawley’s delivery, Lambe’s flick, Monaghan goal as they kept their Nicky Rackard Cup status.
Monaghan: Niall Butler; Eoin Leonard, Eamon Sheehan, Patrick Bermingham; Conor McKenna, Colin Merrick, Conor Geanon; Fergal Rafter (0-9, nine frees), Stephen Lambe (2-1); Martin Murphy (1-2), Kevin Crawley, Shane McNally (0-1); Brian McGuigan (1-1), Mark Treanor, Pearse McKenna
Subs: Conor Flynn (0-3) for Bermingham (19), Padraic McMahon for Pearse McKenna (46), Paddy Finnegan for McNally (59)
Louth: Donal Connolly; Mark Wallace, Andrew McCrave, Mike Lyons; Andrew Smyth, John Martin, Jamie McDonnell; Conor Deane (0-3), Darran O’Hanrahan; Darren Geoghegan (0-13, seven frees & three 65), Ger Smyth, Feidhelm Joyce (0-1); Peter Brennan (0-1), David Kettle (1-0), Seaghan Conneely (0-1)
Subs: Pádraig Fallon (1-0) for Smyth (36), Stephen Kettle (0-1) for Martin (47), Gerry McKeown for Brennan (64)
Referee: James Clarke (Cavan)