The Ballybofey side’s second home fixture of the season was a replica of the first and they finished with 10 men and a 2-2 draw.
Goals from Kevin McHugh and Ray Foley earned the share of the points but there was a dark cloud when Tommy Bonner was needlessly sent off with 11 minutes remaining for pushing Sean Brennan in the face.
So, as it was against Limerick FC on opening night, there was a sense of frustration but unlike Mark Forker’s dismissal in that game, the normally placid Bonner had little cause for debate.
A McHugh penalty on the stroke of half-time put Harps ahead after John Reilly was adjudged to have fouled Raymond Foy, who replaced the suspended Forker.
Monaghan exploded into life in the second half and were level 10 minutes after the restart when Ciaran Gallagher spilled a free-kick from Sean Brennan as Shane Grimes nicked in and Foley tapped home from a couple of yards out.
Harps appeared to be losing their way but had to be credited for edging their noses in front again on 65 minutes. From a throw-in by James Doherty, the Harps frontman turned in a flash and stroked the ball into the far corner for an excellently-taken goal.
But the see-saw nature of the encounter continued and on 73 minutes the teams were level again when Ciaran Coll’s clearance fell to Foley, whose belter got the better of Gallagher from all of 25 yards for a real scrapbook goal. The central midfielder couldn’t have hit the shot any better.
It took 20 minutes for either side to make any sort of chance in front of goal and following a corner from Conor O’Grady, McHugh’s header was blocked and the follow-up from Bonner also collided with the mass of bodies. Then, a minute later, Marc Brolly’s header drew a save from Sava following a neat Gareth Harkin centre.
New Monaghan manager Roddy Collins has promised to make Monaghan a more cohesive attacking unit but it was the defence that looked like it required maintenance as the visitors struggled to deal with a number of O’Grady’s corners into the area.
After Sava denied Harkin, the Monaghan netminder was fortunate to keep his sheet clean after an unconvincing punch from the resultant O’Grady and the ball flew over the crossbar.
After the break, though, there was much more sense of direction for Monaghan and goals went in at the both ends. Bonner’s sending off meant that Harps were perhaps more content with a draw than gambling for a win. But at 2-2, with six minutes left, Paddy McLaughlin blew a glorious opportunity to turn one point to three when a Harkin free, which Mailey flicked on, was well wide of the mark.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; James Doherty, Packie Mailey, Paddy McLaughlin, Ciaran Coll; Raymond Foy, Conor O’Grady, Tommy Bonner; Gareth Harkin, Kevin McHugh, Marc Brolly (Oisin McMenamin 69).
Monaghan United: Gabriel Sava; Conor McMahon (Shane Fitzgerald 46), Dave Rodgers, Aidan Collins, Shane Grimes; Paul Whelan, Eric Foley, John Reilly, Alan Byrne (Kevin Loughrin 64); Sean Brennan, Jason Marks.
Referee: Phil Cascera.