Kildare have been relegated from Division One after falling to a 0-19 to 0-14 defeat against Kerry at ice-cold Tralee tonight.
Teenager David Clifford slotted six points for the winners, four of them from frees, while outstanding visiting full forward Daniel Flynn registered six times from play for the losers, who have now slumped to six successive league defeats and ten losses in a row in all competitions.
Flynn's strike had the sides level (0-4 each) after 15 minutes but a run of seven unanswered points for the hosts inside the next 15 minutes preceded Flynn's second of the night as Eamonn Fitzmaurice's men led by 0-11 to 0-5 at the interval.
After some early shadow boxing, Barry John Keane fisted the opening score in the sixth minute, refusing a shot at goal, but Kevin Feely - who departed the fray with an ankle injury soon after - equalised and his midfielder partner Tommy Moolick added another before Niall Kelly nudged the Lilywhites into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.
The hosts were level by the 13th minute thanks to Micheal Burns and Paul Geaney (free); Clifford banged over their third successive score but Flynn fisted the levelling score in the 15th minute.
Kerry now took over: Kevin McCarthy (2) and Clifford (free) had the winners ahead by three after 22 minutes and Geaney made it double scores a minute later, 0-8 to 0-4. Paul Murphy landed Kerry's fifth successive score; Daithi Casey and Clifford (free) brought that scoring sequence to seven without reply.
Flynn closed the first-half scoring but Kildare still trailed by six at the short whistle.
Geaney and Flynn helped themselves to their third points upon the resumption and the visitors closed within four as Ben McCormack and full forward Flynn found the range. Flynn grabbed his fifth from 45 metres after Keane fisted over for the second time - 0-13 to 0-9 after 43 minutes.
The Lilywhites lost Keith Cribbin to a black card but Paddy Brophy posted their tenth point on 50 minutes to leave just three between the sides. Kildare had landed six of the last seven points but Clifford steadied the hosts by stroking over another free and substitute David Moran made it 0-15 to 0-10 after Brophy was also shown a black card.
The outstanding Flynn nailed his sixth score from play but Casey replied instantly with an even better one from close to the sideline. Substitute Fionn Dowling saw his effort cancelled out brilliantly by Clifford, whose free was subsequently cancelled out by corner back Peter Kelly - 0-18 to 0-13 going into seven minutes of injury time. Home goalkeeper Shane Murphy (free) and visiting defender Mick O'Grady posted the last two scores as the holders rose up the table onto six points with one game remaining, while Kildare remain pointless and are relegated.
Kerry - S Murphy (0-1f); B O Beaglaoich, J Foley, R Shanahan; P Murphy (0-1), P Crowley, F Fitzgerald; J Barry, Barry O'Sullivan; M Burns (0-1), D Casey (0-2), K McCarthy (0-2); D Clifford (0-6, 2f), P Geaney (0-3, 1f), BJ Keane (0-2). Subs: D Moran (0-1) for Barry O'Sullivan, M Flaherty for M Burns, A Spillane for K McCarthy, M Griffin for P Geaney, J Buckley for BJ Keane, T O'Sullivan for F Fitzgerald.
Kildare - M Donnellan; P Kelly (0-1), D Hyland, M O'Grady (0-1); J Byrne, E Doyle, K Flynn; K Feely (0-1), T Moolick (0-1); F Conway, K Cribbin, P Brophy (0-1); N Kelly (0-1), D Flynn (0-6), B McCormack (0-1). Subs: P Cribbin for K Feely, D Slattery for K Cribbin (BC), F Dowling (0-1) for T Moolick, M Sherry for P Brophy (BC), C McNally for B McCormack, J Hyland for F Conway.
Referee - D Coldrick.