John Doyle converted an injury-time penalty to secure promotion for a lucky Kildare side who had been dominated for almost the entire second-half by a profligate Galway.
The game started with neither side making any late changes with the Tribesmen playing with the benefit of a strong breeze in the first half at Pearse Stadium.
In what was a high scoring opening quarter to the game; the sides were all square at five points apiece after 13 minutes with Galway reeling off three unanswered points having been 0-05 to 0-02 adrift inside 10 minutes.
The sides once again traded scores before Smith gave Kildare a 0-07 to 0-06 lead.
GOAL for Kildare on 25 minutes. With clear cut chances at a premium and Bolton’s net bulger seemed like it might be a crucial one as he took his own tally for the game to 1-01 with the visitors taking a 1-07 to 0-08 lead ten minutes from the interval.
The goal was the final score of the half. The opening 15 minutes of the second period are dominated by Galway and though Kildare continued to swap points with the home side; Galway eventually turned the screw and were deservedly in front (0-15 to 1-10) midway through the second half.
Galway were well on top inside the last seven minutes, extending their lead to four points (0-17 to 1-10) and were good value for that lead.
Kildare however kept themselves in the game with two late points as the game ticked into injury-time.
The Lilywhites still needed a goal however as they trailed by two points with the 70 minutes having elapsed. Amazingly and against the overall run of play; that chance came with a penalty stroked home by John Doyle to secure Division 1 football for the Leinster side and a meeting with Division 2 leaders Tyrone in the divisional play-off final was secured for the visitors. For an unlucky young Galway side, it’s another season in Division 2 with their National League season finished for another year.
Galway (FL v Kildare): A. Faherty; K. McGrath, F. Hanley ( c ), C. Forde; G. Bradshaw, D. Blake, G. O’Donnell; J. Bergin, G. Higgins; J. Bergin, G. Higgins; G. Sice, D. Burke, N. Joyce; M. Martin, P. Conroy, M. Hehir.
Kildare (FL v Galway): S. Connolly; P. Kelly, H. McGrillen, O. Lyons; E. Bolton, M. O’Flaherty, B. Flanagan; M.Foley, P. O’Neill; M. Foley, P. O’Neill; E.O’Flaherty, M.Conway, J. Doyle ( c ); A.Smith, T.O’Connor, J.Kavanagh.