Kildare made it through to an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship quarter-final clash with Cork with an unspectacular 0-13 to 0-04 qualifier win over Sligo at Dr Hyde Park.
The Lilywhites were always in control, but failed to make their dominance count against a Sligo team that failed to score from play until the 71st minute.
Having hit six points in the opening 11 minutes, Kieran McGeeney’s side looked set to lay on a scoring extravaganza, but they managed just seven more over the following hour’s play.
However, they succeeded in completely snuffing out Sligo’s attacking threat on an evening when nothing went right for the Yeatsmen.
Kildare, with a strong wind in their backs, made an impressive start and looked set to swamp their western opponents with an early barrage.
Alan Smith, Robert Kelly and Tomás O’Connor all fired over points in the opening four minutes, and Sligo were putting out fires all over the field.
Michael Foley gave them an abundance of primary possession around midfield, and Morgan O’Flaherty and Emmet Bolton pushed forward time and again from the back.
Sligo struggled to break the momentum of the Lilywhite offensive system, and by the 12th minute, they trailed by 0-06 to 0-00.
This had the makings of a mauling, but Kildare were unable to sustain the tempo of an impressive opening. Mikey Conway and Eoghan O’Flaherty both on target from frees, and James Kavanagh made 0-08 to 0-01, but the Lilywhites managed just two scores in the 25 minutes before half-time.
They allowed their opponents to gradually play their way into the game, and even though Sligo failed to score from play, they were just five points adrift at the break.
David Maye and Adrian Marren (2) converted frees to lift the Yeatsmen, while the Lilywhites became increasingly frustrated with their own failure to stamp their authority on the contest.
Kildare led by 0-08 to 0-03 at half-time, but continued to struggle to find scores after the break.
Emmet Bolton did have a glorious goal chance when he collected loose ball from Conway’s cross, but Philip Greene pulled off a terrific save.
Conway and Johnny Doyle were badly off target, but O’Flaherty kicked his fourth free to get them going again.
Now playing with a more measured approach, and holding possession, they frustrated their opponents, squeezing the Sligo attack out of the game.
Wing-backs Eoin Doyle and Bolton both pushed forward to score, although the latter should have had a goal when sent clear by O’Connor’s lay-off.
Sligo were unable to break down the Lilywhite defensive system, and failed to score while playing with the wind until substitute Eamonn O’Hara fired over their only point from play in stoppage time.
Meanwhile, Kildare had made the game safe, Conway slotting a free between the posts and Alan Smith on target for the second time.
Sligo frustration boiled over five minutes from time when defender Charlie Harrison was sent off on a straight red card for striking Johnny Doyle with an elbow.
Kildare scorers: E O’Flaherty 0-04 (0-4f), M Conway (2f), A Smith 0-02 each, T O’Connor, J Kavanagh, R Kelly, E Bolton, E Doyle 0-01 each.
Sligo scorers: A Marren 0-02 (2f), D Maye (f), E O’Hara 0-01 each.
Kildare: S Connolly, O Lyons, P Kelly, H McGrillen, E Bolton, M O’Flaherty, E Doyle, M Foley, R Kelly, E O’Flaherty, M Conway, A Smith, J Doyle, T O’Connor, J Kavanagh.
Subs used: P O’Neill for Kelly (55 mins), D Earley for Foley (61), E Callaghan for E O’Flaherty, S Johnston for J Doyle, G White for Bolton (69).
Sligo: P Greene, N Ewing, J Martyn, R Donovan, C Harrison, M Quinn, P McGovern, E Mullan, T Taylor, M Breheny, D Maye, S Coen, A Costello, A Marren, D Kelly.
Subs used: P Hughes for Kelly (h/t), S McManus for Mullan (44 mins), E O’Hara for Coen (53), K Cawley for Costello (57), B Egan for Breheny (57).
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath).