Things are incredibly tight at the bottom of Division 1 after Kildare came out on top of a real relegation four-pointer in St Conleth's Park.

Just one point separates the bottom five teams heading into next week's final round and Kildare will go into their game against Mayo flying high after this stunning victory.

Glenn Ryan's team raced out of the traps and scored the first six points of the game. It was a blistering start and one that Monaghan never recovered from.

Before the game, Kildare were struck by the late withdrawal of Daniel Flynn through illness but the players who took to the field made sure his absence wasn’t felt as they raised more white flags than they have managed in any league game since scoring 4-25 against Kilkenny in 1990.

Flynn’s replacement, Darragh Kirwan contributed five of thosse points, with Paddy Woodgate and Jimmy Hyland also getting off the mark early and by the end of the game that full-forward line had contributed a massive 15 points for Kildare.

But the real star of the show was in the half-forward line where Ben McCormack led the Monaghan defence a merry dance as he brilliantly linked defence and attack. He scored three points himself and had a hand in countless others in a stunning display.

Kildare keeper Aaron O'Neill unhappy at conceding Monaghan's only goal

Monaghan recovered after their slow start and rallied through the middle part of the opening half as they finally found a foothold in the game. They cut the lead back to 0-07 to 0-04 and then 0-08 to 0-05 but Kildare rallied and finished the half as they had started.

They scored three of the last four points before the break, two from McCormack and another he created for Kirwan, to lead 0-12 to 0-07 as the teams headed for the dressing room.

Monaghan needed a big start to the second half to give themselves a chance, but instead conceded the first four points as Kildare pulled clear.

The Ulster team were given a life line when Conor McCarthy cut a ten-point lead back to seven in the 50th minute with a well-taken goal but any chance Monaghan had of building on that evaporated when Andrew Woods was shown a black card just over a minute later for a foul on Tony Archbold.

Before Monaghan returned to their full complement of players, Kildare were also reduced to 14 when captain Mick O'Grady was shown a second yellow card on the hour mark for on a push on Ryan McAnespie just as the wing-back was closing in on goal.

The loss of their skipper didn’t hamper Kildare too much and the likes of Brian McLoughlin and Alex Beirne came off the bench to kick scores and keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Darragh Kirwan became the second Kildare player to receive a second yellow card deep into injury-time but that didn’t take the gloss off a superb Kildare win that means they have gone through this Division 1 league campaign unbeaten on their home pitch but they may need to pick up something against Mayo if they are to avoid an immediate return to Division 2.

Monaghan meet Dublin in Clones in another relegation four-pointer with the loser of that game certain to be doomed to relegation.

Kildare: Aaron O'Neill; Mick O'Grady, Shea Ryan, Ryan Houlihan (0-01); Tony Archbold, James Murray, Darragh Ryan; Kevin Feely (0-02), Kevin Flynn; Kevin O'Callaghan, Ben McCormack (0-03, 1m), Paul Cribbin (0-01); Paddy Woodgate (0-04, 2f), Darragh Kirwan (0-05), Jimmy Hyland (0-08, 6f).

Subs: Paddy McDermott for O'Callaghan (53), Alex Beirne (0-01) for Cribbin (60), Darragh Malone for D Ryan (65), Brian McLoughlin (0-01) for McCormack (65), Tadhg Hoey for Feely (70)

Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy, Conor Boyle, Ryan Wylie; Ryan McAnespie, Killian Lavelle, Gary Mohan (0-03); Darren Hughes, Dessie Ward (0-01); Conor McCarthy (1-00), Micheál Bannigan, Shane Carey; Andrew Woods, Kieran Hughes, Conor McManus (0-08.,7f).

Subs: Drew Wylie for Boyle, h/t; Niall Kearns for K Hughes, 40; Colin Walshe for Bannigan, 43; Karl O’Connell for D Hughes, 47; Sean Jones for Woods, 62.

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)