Kildare scored the last three points to snatch a deserved draw against old rivals Laois to set up a replay at the same venue next Saturday.
While the game was not out of the top drawer in terms of intensity, there was no shortage of endeavour and Kildare showed tremendous spirit to rescue themselves. Tommy Moolick came off the bench to have a big impact for the Lilywhites in the second half, and he landed the equaliser in the second minute of injury time.
There was still time for Laois to launch one final attack though but Paul Kingston wasted a golden chance to snatch it.
It would have been harsh on Jason Ryan's men though, as they missed three goal chances - although those opportunities all yielded points - while Eoghan O'Flaherty missed an easy free late on and Alan Smith hit the upright just before Moolick's leveller.
Eamonn Callaghan won the toss and elected to play with a very strong wind. The thinking was obvious, especially given that confidence levels might not be high following a league campaign that ended with relegation to Division 3.
Kildare dominated possession early on but were extremely laborious in their build-up, as Laois drew 12 players behind the ball. Some of their early shooting smacked of panic, or lack of care, and instead it was Laois that scored with almost their first attack in the ninth minute, as Donie Kingston chipped over after getting away from Mick O'Grady. Padraig Fogarty equalised quickly with a high left-footed effort but Kildare continued to be wasteful and a more economic Laois hit the next three points.
They all came from frees, with the pick of them coming from Tom Shiel's effort which came between efforts from Ross Munnelly and Kingston.
Kildare were faring better around midfield than had been predicted and they began to find the sharp-looking Alan Smith with increasing regularity. Pádraig Fogarty slotted a '45 and Eoghan O'Flaherty a free before the move of the match carved open the Laois defence in the 21st minute.
O'Flaherty picked up the ball around 50 metres out and ran at the heart of the opposition. His pass found Cathal McNally, who drew the last defender before feeding Smith. The Sarsfields man attempted to place the ball into the top corner but leaned back just a little too much and his shot went over the bar.
Kingston was influential at the other end though and he slotted a pair of points to open a slight margin again. Kildare hit back with four points on the trot from Callaghan, Smith, Gary White and an O'Flaherty free, after Smith had been fouled, as they led by 0-9 to 0-8 at the break. While that didn't appear sufficient, Kildare had the better of much of the second half, resuming with points from O'Flaherty (free) and Emmet Bolton. Laois got the next three but once more, Kildare went ahead and Cribbin's 48th-minute point, after Moolick had a shot on goal blocked made it a two-point game once more.
Laois then appeared to make the key breakthrough, taking over around the middle and hitting five consecutive points. Kingston and John O'Loughlin combined for the pick of the bunch for the latter but Kildare weren't done.
Callaghan sent a shot on goal inches wide in the 66th minute but Cormac Reilly awarded a free. Flaherty converted, followed up with another before Moolick hit the target. With Paul Kingston failing to get enough curl on his kick, it was replay time.
Scorers - Laois: D Kingston 0-8 (5f), R Munnelly 0-3 (3f), D Strong, J O'Loughlin 0-2 each, T Shiel 0-1 (f). Kildare: E O'Flaherty 0-5 (5f), P Fogarty 0-3 (1f, 1 '45'), A Smith, T Moolick 0-2 each, E Callaghan, G White, E Bolton, P Cribbin 0-1 each,
Laois: G Brody; S Attride, M Timmons, D O'Connor; D Strong, C Begley, R Kehoe; B Quigley, J O'Loughlin; N Donoher, C Boyle, E O'Carroll; R Munnelly, D Kingston, T Shiel. Subs: C Meredith for Shiel (51), B Sheehan for Meredith (65), P Kingston for O'Carroll (67).
Kildare: M Donnellan; C Fitzpatrick, M O'Grady, O Lyons; K Murnaghan, F Conway, E Bolton; G White, P Cribbin; P O'Neill, E O'Flaherty, C McNally; E Callaghan, P Fogarty, A Smith. Subs: T Moolick for McNally (41), N Kelly for Fogarty (56), E Doyle for Murnaghan (59), F Dowling for O'Neill (66), D Hyland for White (69).
Referee: C Reilly (Meath)
Sunday Indo Sport