Doyle stars as Lilywhites raise game to sink Antrim
A goal in the closing seconds gave a one-sided look to the scoreboard as Kildare beat Antrim at Casement Park.
However, the nine-point margin was no more than the Lilywhites deserved as they were the superior side once they hit the front in the closing stages of the first half.
This was a poor opener. The game was riddled with free-kicks and yellow cards flashed by a fussy referee but it was never dirty. Two players were sent-off for second yellow card offences -- Antrim full-back Andrew McClean in the 53rd minute and Kildare wing-back Emmett Bolton on 66 minutes.
Antrim began brightly and were 0-3 to 0-1 ahead by the 12th minute -- all from frees -- but they registered only one more point before the break, at which stage Kildare led 0-6 to 0-4.
Kildare dominated the second half, with Johnny Doyle popping over points from placed balls.
Mark Dougan hit an Antrim point in the 37th minute but the Saffrons didn't score again until the 46th, while Kildare rifled over four scores to strengthen their grip on the game at 0-11 to 0-5.
They might also have had a goal in the 42nd minute but Sean O'Neill pulled off a good save from Eamonn Callaghan and the ball was scrambled off the line.
Points by Kevin Niblock and free-taker Paddy Cunningham gave Antrim hope until Kildare substitute Keith Cribbin screwed the ball into the Saffron net to seal victory.
Kildare finished the game with 13 men as Callaghan went off injured and all five substitutes had been used.
"I was pleased with the second half when we scored 1-11 but we could have scored maybe another 1-2 or 1-3. I wasn't so pleased with the first half when our tackling was very poor. I'd say it was a hard game to watch," said Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney.
SCORERS -- Kildare: J Doyle 0-8 (8f), E Callaghan 0-4, K Cribbin 1-0, F Dowling 0-2, B Flanagan, H Lynch, P O'Neill 0-1 each. Antrim: P Cunningham 0-8 (7f), M Dougan 0-2 (1f), K Niblock 0-1.
KILDARE -- S Connolly; H McGrillen, T O'Neill, B Flanagan; D Whyte, M Scanlon, E Bolton; H Lynch, P O'Neill; E Callaghan, E O'Flaherty, J Doyle; K Ennis, F Dowling, A Smith. Subs: R Kelly for Ennis (17), M Foley for T O'Neill (43), R Sweeney for Smith (46), T Hoolick for P O'Neill (61), K Cribbin for O'Flaherty (68).
ANTRIM -- S O'Neill; C Brady, A McClean, K O'Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, D O'Neill; B Herron, A Gallagher; M Sweeney, K McGourty, T O'Neill; P Cunningham, M Dougan, K Niblock. Subs: M McCann for Sweeney (46), A Healy for Crozier (47), S Finch for Herron (51).
REF -- M Higgins (Fermanagh).