Cribbin seals Kildare's step-up
Kildare 0-18 Clare 1-14
Paul Cribbin's injury-time point was enough to give Kildare the victory they needed to secure promotion in Newbridge yesterday following a rip-roaring encounter against Clare.
Going into the game, Cian O'Neill's side knew that a draw would be enough for them to play top-flight football next year, but Clare knew that only a win would prolong their promotion hopes into the last round of the games.
On the day, however, Kildare had all the answers and, in the form of Cribbin, the match-winner.
After Kevin Feely was shown a black card, Kildare needed somebody to take a grip on proceedings and Cribbin did so in stunning fashion, scoring three of his team's final five points.
All was going to plan for Kildare and with Feely kicking five frees, including one superb effort from the left sideline, they led 0-11 to 0-6 at the break.
Clare, though, had shown enough at that stage to suggest they could make a game of it, including Shane Brennan hitting the post in the 24th minute, and they came flying out of the traps at the start of the second-half.
Brennan fisted to the net on 42 minutes as they scored 1-3 without reply to move into the lead for the first time.
Two Feely frees put Kildare ahead, but things looked to have turned against them when David Slattery and Feely were shown black cards either side of Eoin Cleary levelling the scores.
It was nip and tuck in the closing stages and the teams were level three times in the final 15 minutes, but it was Cribbin's injury-time point that proved decisive.
Eoin Cleary, who had kicked some superb scores, had a late chance to level the game from a free, but he pulled his effort wide and Kildare held on to secure back-to-back promotions.
Scorers - Kildare: K Feely 0-7fs, P Cribbin 0-3, N Kelly 0-2, T Moolick 0-1, F Conway 0-1, C Healy 0-1, F Dowling 0-1, C McNally 0-1, B McCormack 0-1. Clare: E Cleary 0-7 (3f), S Brennan 1-2, K Sexton 0-1, D Tubridy 0-2 (1f), G Brennan 0-1, Jamie Malone 0-1.
Kildare - M Donnellan 7; M O'Grady 7, D Hyland 7, O Lyons 7; J Byrne 7, E Doyle 8, K Cribbin 6; K Feely 8, T Moolick 7; F Conway 8, N Kelly 7, P Cribbin 9; D Slattery 7, F Dowling 7, C Healy 7. Subs: C Hartley 7 for Slattery (50 BC); Ben McCormack 7 for Feely (54 BC); C McNally 6 for Healy (58); E Callaghan 6 for Kelly (70).
Clare - Joe Hayes 7; M McMahon 7, K Hartnett 7, John Hayes 6; L Markham 7, G Kelly 7, D Ryan 7; G Brennan 7, S Brennan 8; C O'Dea 7, K Sexton 8, C O'Connor 7; E Cleary 8, D Tubridy 7, J Malone 8. Subs: D Nagle 6 for John Hayes (46 BC); Ciaran Russell 6 for O'Dea (52); E Collins 6 for S Brennan, (67).
Ref - P Hughes (Armagh).