Fourteen-man Kildare had to dig deep to keep their Christy Ring Cup show on the road at James Stephens Park, Ballina, on Saturday where they encountered a fired-up Mayo team who had dual-star Keith Higgins on board for the first time this year.
And it was a goal from Higgins moments after Johnny Byrne was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident on 30 minutes that put Mayo in a very strong position at half-time when they led defending champions by 1-11 to 0-5.
Fergal Boland was in inspired form for the home side in the first half along with Kenny Feeney.
But ten first-half wides when playing with the aid of a very strong wind were to come back to haunt Mayo in the second half.
They also had a missed penalty opportunity when Kenny Feeney's effort whizzed over the bar.
But the game really turned on two Kildare goals, both scored by Willie Greene early in the second half.
The second, which levelled the game, came after Mayo goalkeeper Donal O'Brien dropped a long ball into his own net.
SCORERS - Kildare: W Greene 2-3, M Delaney 0-7 (5f), G Keegan 0-3, M Fitzgerald and B Deay 0-2, each, D Flaherty 0-1. Mayo - F Boland 0-7, K Feeney 0-7, 3f, 1 '65, 1 pen, K Higgins 1-0, K McDermott and S Hoban 0-1 each.
KILDARE - P Dermody; M Delaney, F Ó'Muineacháin, J Doran; D Stapleton, N O'Muinecháin, E O'Neill; M Fitzgerald, M Moloney; W Greene, J Byrne, L Quinn; D Flaherty, D Deay, E Dempsey. Subs: G Keegan for Quinn (ht), K Whelan for Ó'Muineachain (39).
MAYO - D O'Brien; B Hunt, A Connolly, E Collins; D Kenny, K Higgins, N Casey; K McDermott, P O'Flynn; F Boland, K Feeney, A Lyons; S Hoban, L Cribbin, D McTigue. Subs: S Boland for Cribbin (45), D Gallagher for Lyons (60), C Scahill for McTigue (62), C Finn for O Flynn (68).
REF - E Hassan (Derry)