Kieran Hughes kicked six points as Monaghan had 17 points to spare over a very experimental Donegal in Ballybofey.
Hughes hit five from play as second half goals by Keith McEneaney, Dermot Malone and Darren Hughes saw Monaghan coast to a win over the All-Ireland champions.
Jim McGuinness had the Donegal senior team in training yesterday morning and again none of his marquee names were in the panel with All-Stars Michael Murphy and Neil McGee among the watching sparse attendance.
“Donegal were obviously missing a lot of players, but we can only concentrate on ourselves and we’re happy with where we are,” observed a content Malachy O’Rourke.
“We were five up in the first half and then conceded a bad goal. It was nice to come out and pick it up for the second half.
“Our movement was good and we took some good scores, so overall we’re pleased.
“We’re happy with our defensive work and some of our support play was good. As the game opened up, we moved the ball better and took some very good scores.
“The main thing was the work rate and they applied themselves very well.”
Monaghan were in control almost from start to finish, aside from a period in the first half that coincided with Adrian Hanlon’s 28th minute goal, which was Donegal’s first score of the game.
Monaghan hit five in a row before Hanlon netted from close range.
Gary McFadden took the deficit to a point, but frees from Paul McArdle and Conor McManus gave the Farney men a 0-7 to 1-1 lead at the break.
Just 20 seconds into the second half McEneaney scorched home Monaghan’s opening goal and the game had an ominous look for the shadow Donegal side.
With Kieran Hughes arching over points from all angles, Monaghan took complete charge of proceedings and a 60th minute goal from sub Malone, cracking home having been teed up by Kieran Duffy, had them 14 in front.
In the final minute, Darren Hughes palmed home the third goal to confirm a landslide win that leaves Monaghan and Fermanagh locked at the top of Section A ahead of Wednesday’s clash in Inniskeen.
Donegal manager McGuinness, said: “We’re building it up slowly and steadily and our training will increase intensity-wise over the next three weeks.”
He added: “It would have been dangerous to fire them straight into a game.”
DONEGAL: P Boyle; K McFadden, C Cannon, T McKinley; C Gallagher, S McGowan, D Walsh (0-1); C Ward, R Wherity; S Griffin (0-2), G McFadden (0-1), D McLaughlin; J Carroll, A Hanlon (1-0), W Gillespie (0-1). Subs: M Cannon for McLaughlin (5), P Carr for McKinley (53), L Kelly for Gillespie (53); C Gibbons for Carroll (69); A O’Gara for Gallagher (69).
MONAGHAN: M Keogh; R McNally, D Hughes, O Coyle (0-1); K Duffy, D Mone, C Galligan; O Lennon, D Hughes (1-0); K Hughes (0-6, 1f), P McArdle (0-2, 2f), T O’Neill; K McEneaney (1-1), C McManus (0-4, 3f), D Hahessy. Subs: D Malone (1-2) for McEneaney (39), D Clerkin for Lennon (48), S McQuillan for McArdle (49), G McArdle for Duffy (60), O Duffy for McManus (62).
Referee: Cathal O’Hagan (Tyrone).