Relief for Clare as promotion secure despite Kildare defeat
Kildare 0-22 Clare 1-14
Kildare won the shootout but thanks to Longford beating Westmeath, Clare will join them in Division 2 next year anyway, and the sides will resume rivalries in the Division 3 final in three weeks.
They will do so without talisman David Tubridy however, who was sent off on a straight red card in injury time, following an altercation with Ciaran Fitzpatrick.
Clare gave as good as they got until the 56th minute, at which stage they led by two points but they couldn't stay with Kildare in the defining period, failing to score for the remainder of the game, while the home team kicked seven points.
Eamonn Callaghan had a massive impact in this juncture, while the hosts appeared to have much more running power in that term.
"It took us a while to get into the game but I felt that once we got going and found our rhythm, we had two distinct periods - one in the first half and one towards the end of the second half - I thought we looked very good," reflected Kildare manager Cian O'Neill (above).
Alan Smith was sharp in the first half at full-forward, scoring four points from play, as Kildare's policy of getting the ball forward quickly, using kick-passing paid, dividends. Tommy Moolick, Niall Kelly and Paul Cribbin also contributed with wonderful scores from distance.
They weren't good defensively however, as Tubridy and Eoin Cleary punished indiscipline in defence, Jamie Malone enjoyed the space afforded him and Pat Burke had a goal to make it 0-11 to 1-8 at the break.
With Gary Brennan flourishing in the middle, Clare moved 1-14 to 0-15 ahead with 14 minutes of normal time remaining but it was all Kildare from then on.
Scorers - Kildare: E O'Flaherty 0-7 (5fs); A Smith 0-4; P Cribbin, N Kelly 0-3 each; E Callaghan 0-2; T Moolick, C Fitzpatrick, D Hyland 0-1. Clare: D Tubridy 0-6 (3fs, 145); J Malone, E Cleary (3fs) 0-4 each, P Burke 1-0.
KILDARE: T Corley; P Kelly, D Hyland, O Lyons; C Fitzpatrick, F Conway, H McGrillen; K Feely, T Moolick; P O'Neill, E O'Flaherty, P Cribbin; N Kelly, A Smith, F Dowling. Subs: K Murnaghan for McGrillen (ht), E Callaghan for Dowling (47), J Byrne for O'Neill (50), E O'Connor for O'Flaherty (70+1).
CLARE: J Hayes; S Malone, K Harnett, M McMahon; P Lillis, D Ryan, C O'Dea; G Brennan, C O'Connor; S Collins, E Cleary, J Malone; K Sexton, D Tubridy, P Burke. Subs: S McGrath for O'Dea (ht), P Collins for Sexton (44), E Coughlan for Malone (58), S Haugh for McGrath (67), G Kelly for Lillis (70+1).
REFEREE: C Reilly (Meath).