Kildare 0-09 Wexford 0-08

Warm favourites Kildare lived dangerously at Croke Park before escaping with an unconvincing one-point win to set up a Leinster SFC semi-final clash with Offaly or Westmeath.

Cian O'Neill's side scored just two points in the entire second-half and were one ahead two minutes into injury-time when Wexford were awarded a free to level it.

An equaliser wouldn't have flattered Wexford either who fought back from four points down at the break to dominate the second-half.

But experienced attacker Ciaran Lyng agonisingly pulled his kick wide of the upright and Kildare escaped to victory.

Neil Flynn top scored on his Championship debut with three points, though boss O'Neill will demand more from his players after struggling to break down Wexford's defensive set-up.

The Lilywhites progress to the 26 June semi-finals while it's the qualifiers for Wexford.

Kildare were back at Croke Park a month after their surprise Allianz league Division 3 final defeat to Clare.

Promotion was still secured though so Cian O'Neill's side approached the Championship opener with momentum on their side.

Wexford were edged out of the Division 4 promotion picture by Antrim and Louth, finishing third in the table.

An apparent gulf in class was evident initially as Kildare bossed the first-half and were good value for their 0-07 to 0-03 half-time lead.

John Tubritt opened the scoring for Wexford just seconds into the contest.

But David Power's side managed only two more points in the entire half which ran to almost 40 minutes in duration.

One of those was a Donal Shanley free while Colm Kehoe strode forward from midfield for the other on the half-hour mark.

Kildare had more quality going forward and led from the eighth minute when Flynn put them 0-02 to 0-01 up with back to back points.

Flynn's scores begun a four-in-a-row of points that left the 2009 finalists in a strong position.

Flynn finished the half with three points while the more experienced Alan Smith weighed in with two excellent scores. Ollie Lyons and Morgan O'Flaherty were also on the mark and seven first-half wides summed up Kildare's dominance.

But Wexford came back strongly into the contest after the restart and held Kildare scoreless until the 55th minute.

Wexford points from Shanley, Shane Roche and Kevin O'Grady tied the scores up at 0-07 apiece with 15 minutes to go.

Kildare, crucially, went behind  and substitutes Eamonn Callaghan and Cian O'Donoghue put them two clear again with timely scores.

But it was far from convincing and there was just a point in for the final 10 minutes of play as Kildare attempted to play keep ball and run down the clock.

They did just that but got a mighty scare when Wexford were awarded that 72nd minute free to equalise which Lyng pulled wide.

Kildare: M Donnellan; P Kelly, D Hyland, O Lyons (0-01); E Doyle, F Conway, R Houlihan; K Feely, T Moolick; K Feely, T Moolick; M O'Flaherty (0-01), E O'Flaherty, E Bolton; P Cribbin, A Smith (0-02), N Flynn (0-03, 0-01f).

Subs: A Tyrrell for Cribbin, C O'Donoghue (0-01) for Bolton, E Callaghan (0-01) for Smith, P O'Neill for E O'Flaherty, F Dowling for Feely, K Murnaghan for M O'Flaherty. Flynn BC, not replaced.

Wexford: A Masterson; S Donohoe, J Wadding, J Rossiter; E Nolan, M Furlong, B Malone; C Kehoe (0-01), D Waters; K O'Grady (0-01), PJ Banville, B Brosnan; D Shanley (0-04, 0-04f), C Lyng, J Tubritt (0-01).

Subs: K Butler for Furlone, S Roche (0-01) for Tubritt, A Flynn for Banville, R Tierney for Kehoe, S Byrne for Malone.

Referee: R Hickey (Clare).