No-one ever really thought it was better to lose a derby game against your rivals but the prize of a Leinster semi against a cruising Dublin team wasn't much by way of motivation either.
Defeat now with a short turnaround and the entire season on the line seems like a hefty price to pay for the losers. Kildare and Laois were so finely balanced the first day that it's almost impossible to believe the turn-around in the replay six days later.
Sure the Galway-Dublin hurling games were fairly similar in result but that replay was over inside 15 minutes when Galway already had a double-digit lead up.
Laois were ahead at half-time the second day having missed a penalty and a one-on-one. Kildare could have been buried. Should have been.
That they weren't is credit both to the young team and their excellent young manager. Jason Ryan was on a hiding to nothing coming into the job and despite successive relegations he has surely done enough to warrant a long-term Kildare deal. The integration of so many young players into the team so quickly clearly resulted in mixed league results but it also has allowed the team make big leaps collectively. Everyone was learning, all the time.
There is also, now, genuine strength in depth. When Kildare named their team for the replay we arched our eyebrows and declined to believe it. We were wrong and the team named started.
If needed Ryan had cavalry to come. As it turned out, they weren't required and training surely goes up a notch with proper subs available and pushing for spots.
Whenever Dublin beat Kildare people will question the progress made - that's foolish but it's life. Some will demand a quality run through the qualifiers where a few decent teams lie in wait.
The evidence of the drawn game and the replay with Laois suggests the team absorbed how to stay in games when they weren't playing well, precisely their downfall in the league. In the end counties want progress and Ryan and his team are delivering.