Fourteen-man Armagh gave their promotion drive a huge boost with a 0-16 to 0-10 win over Kildare at the Athletic Grounds.

Two points each from Stefan Campbell and substitute Jamie Clarke helped Armagh to a 0-08 to 0-01 interval lead, after they had played with the strong wind in their backs.

Despite losing Jamie Clarke to a second booking on 37 minutes, the home side battled their way to an impressive success with Rian O'Neill finishing with four points, but a second successive loss could prove costly to Kildare’s bid to push for a return to Division One.

Paddy Brophy and Adam Tyrell top-scored for the Lilywhites with three points each. 

This dogged encounter played in Gale force wind and incessant, driving rain was in doubt until an hour before throw-in. It was only after a pitch inspection and a subsequent review of crowd safety issues that Meath referee David Coldrick gave the go-ahead for the match to proceed as Storm Ciara battered the Armagh venue. 

Armagh had those driving gusts behind them in the opening half, but Kildare goalkeeper Mark Donnellan managed to put impressive distance on his kick-outs, sending Paul Cribbin through acres of space to level the game in eight minutes, after Aidan Nugent had edged the home side in front from a mark. 

And Donnellan produced a terrific save to deny Nugent, after he had been sent clear by Jarlath Og Burns. 

The Lilywhites, with David Hyland and Keith Cribbin deployed as sweepers, defended with discipline, frustrating their opponents until Stefan Campbell swept over their second point, and Niall Grimley made it 0-3 to 0-1 after 22 minutes. 

And the Orchard men had another golden goal chance thwarted when Rian O'Neill saw his shot brilliantly blocked by Peter Kelly. 

The pressure was beginning to tell on a Kildare defence that struggled to maintain the high standards set early on, and Campbell’s second score eased the Ulstermen five clear on the half-hour. Substitute Jamie Clarke sent over two stoppage time points to send his side in with a 0-8 to 0-1 interval lead, and they made a furious start to the second half, Rian O’Neill and Stephen Sheridan both on target. 

But Clarke picked up his second yellow card in the space of two minutes, and they were down to 14 men by the 37th minute. 

But that didn’t halt the Orchard march, with Rian O’Neill stretching their lead out to 11 points. 

Kildare, with just a single point to show for more than 50 mintues of endeavour, were strugging to use weather conditions to their advantage, and badly needed to turn the contest around. 

A revival of sorts began with Paddy Brophy’s tidy score, followed by a couple of converted frees from substitute Adam Tyrell and a Daniel Flynn gem. 

But as they committed more players to the offensive effort, the home side was able to find space on the breakaway to keep their Leinster visitors at arms length. 

Paul Cribbin and Brophy were on target as Kildare edged closer, but never close enough to threaten an assured home side, for breakaway scores from Mark Shields and the excellent Rian O’Neill sealed the result and bitter-sweet win for McGeeney, who spent six years as Kildare manager. 

Armagh: B Hughes; P Burns, C O’Neill, A Forker (0-01, f);  M Shields (0-01), S Sheridan (0-01), J McElroy; N Grimley (0-01), O O’Neill (0-01); J Og Burns, S Campbell (0-02), C Cumiskey (0-01); C Turbitt, R O’Neill (0-04, 3f), A Nugent (0-02, 1f, 1 mark).

Subs: J Clarke (0-02, 1f) for Turbitt (27), J Morgan for C O’Neill (45), G McCabe for Nugent (68), B Donaghy for Shields (69), A McKay for Cumiskey (71)

Kildare: M Donnellan; P Kelly, M O’Grady, S Ryan; K Flynn, D Hyland, C Cavanagh; K Feely, T Moolick: P Cribbin (0-02), P Brophy (0-03), K Cribbin; N Kelly, D Flynn (0-01), J Hyland.

Subs: N Flynn for O’Grady (h-t), A Tyrrell (0-03, 2f) for Hyland (44), J Byrne for Cavanagh (45), J Robinson (0-01) for Moolick (56), L Power for N Kelly (65)

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).