Kelly on top form to help Lilies bridge 24-year gap
Kildare 2-14 Cavan 2-12
Kildare led by 10 points at one stage but were forced to withstand a brave Cavan rally in a thrilling clash at Pairc Tailteann.
The Leinster champions seemed to be coasting to victory after building up a 1-8 to 0-1 lead by the 24th minute but they failed to score in the final quarter and were left clinging on as 14-man Cavan went in search of a match-winning goal in added time.
Indeed Cavan came agonisingly close to snatching a sensational winner but David Brady's goal-bound shot was deflected out for a '45' as Kildare defended desperately to deny them.
The physically stronger Kildare held the initiative for most of the opening half, with Daniel Courtney and Rory Feely dominant at midfield.
Corner-forwards Jimmy Hyland and Ciaran Kelly caught the eye in attack accounting for 1-9 between them as they led 1-11 to 2-2 at the break.
Cavan only managed a single point in the opening 25 minutes from, Thomas Edward Donohoe, but Donohoe and James Brady then struck with goals in a three-minute spell to bring the game to life.
Cavan also started well in the second half but were rocked by Kildare's second goal from Jimmy Hyland on 42 minutes which left six points between the teams.
Kildare tired in the final quarter and the momentum swung towards Cavan, who hit four successive points to set up a frantic finale.
Even the sending-off of midfielder Conor Brady in those closing minutes - a black-card following an earlier yellow - failed to knock Cavan out of their stride, but it was a relieved Kildare who held on to book a first semi-final date at this level since 1991.
SCORERS - Kildare: C Kelly 1-7 (0-5fs), J Hyland 1-4 (0-1f), M Kelly, R Feely, E O'Donohue 0-1 each. Cavan: T E Donohoe 1-3, J Brady 1-0, R Fitzpatrick 0-3 (2f), D Brady (1f, 1 '45), D Gannon, D Raythorne 0-2 each.
KILDARE - D Campbell; R Slattery, M Joyce, D Lawlor; S Healy, S Ryan, G Burke; D Courtney, R Feely; C Hartley, E O'Donoghue, S Lawler; C Kelly, M Kelly, J Hyland. Subs: S Doran for Hartley (48), K O'Callaghan for Ryan (BC 50), T Archbold for Healy (53), K Flynn for M Kelly (59).
CAVAN - F O'Rourke; L Fortune, P O'Reilly, L Fay-Cooper; D Raythorne, D Monahan, D Wilson; D Kennedy, C Brady; R O'Neill, T E Donohoe, R Clarke; R Fitzpatrick, D Brady, J Brady. Subs: D Gannon for O'Neill (30), C Smith for J Brady (40), S Smith for Gannon (47).
REF - J Molloy (Galway)
All-Ireland MFC quarter-final