Louth made Kildare sweat for a 1-19 to 0-15 All-Ireland SFC second round qualifier win in Newbridge on Saturday.
The Lilywhites trailed by four points on two separate occasions, but influential substitute Tomás O'Connor's late goal helped the hosts prevail.
Louth led 0-10 to 0-08 ahead at half-time, with Ciaran Byrne scoring four times.
But Kieran McGeeney's unbeaten record in the qualifiers - he now boasts 15 wins and a draw since 2008 - was preserved by an improved second half from Kildare.
McGeeney caused a surprise before the throw-in, bringing Morgan O'Flaherty and Mikey Conway into his Kildare team for Michael Foley and captain Eamonn Callaghan.
Louth lined out as selected with goalkeeper Shane McCoy and wing backs John O'Brien and Ray Finnegan earning recalls, but they looked decidedly laboured early on.
The Lilywhites burst into a 0-03 to 0-00 lead with Paul Cribbin getting into space to nab the opener, Padraig O'Neill booming over from distance and Daniel Flynn set up John Doyle's first point of the night.
An acutely angled free from Colm Judge opened Louth's account, the visitors missing the presence of captain Paddy Keenan who went off temporarily after colliding with team-mate Padraig Rath.
Paddy Brophy showed his pace to set up a scoring chance which deflected off a defender and over the crossbar, before a bandaged Keenan cleared the way for Judge to score his first from play.
Louth's resurgence continued as Brian White popped over a free and a couple of turnovers - with Kildare struggling on their own kickouts - saw O'Rourke's charges take the lead by the 16th minute.
The excellent Ciaran Byrne kicked two points in quick succession for a 0-05 to 0-04 scoreline and Kildare responded by the 20-minute mark, Conway firing over a free having missed an earlier effort.
As the tempo quickened Shane Lennon got away from Peter Kelly to land a cracking score, and Daryl Flynn followed up with an equally impressive effort at the other end.
Shane Connolly's quick kick-out tactic worked well for a Doyle point off his weaker foot, while a meaty long range strike from free-taker Conway made it three on the trot for the Lilywhites.
Kildare had a let-off when goalkeeper Connolly did just enough to deny Lennon as Louth pressed for a goal and although White missing the resulting '45', a loose kick-out allowed Byrne sent over his third point.
Connolly's short deliveries gifted the Wee County some easy scores at times, with Louth's hard work in getting bodies back in defence also frustrating the home side.
Louth increased their wides tally to five but they were back on level terms - 0-08 apiece - when a free was worked in for Judge to split the posts again.
Tomás O'Connor's introduction was roundly cheered by the home fans, however Louth hit a purple patch in sight of half-time with Byrne and White moving them two points clear.
A poor missed free from Conway brought a frantic first half to a close, the Kildare mood not being helped by some punishing calls from referee Rory Hickey.
O'Connor carried a goal-scoring threat for Kildare, his persistence creating an early opportunity in the second half which was scratched off and Louth soon made it six points in-a-row.
A White free and Lennon's second of the night sparked some improved play from Kildare, Eoghan O'Flaherty finishing off a quick move from defence to attack. White then scooped over a fine point from a tight angle.
Kildare's response saw O'Connor cause problems for the Louth rearguard and the breaking ball was flashed over for a point by Niall Kelly.
Suddenly Kildare were beginning to tick. Quick ball in paved the way for Eoghan O'Flaherty's second and defender Hugh McGrillen broke forward to cut the gap to 0-13 to 0-12.
Ray Finnegan answered back for Louth, but Kelly threatened the Louth goal before substitute Alan Smith mopped up with a point to bring the margin down to the minimum again.
O'Connor provided the assist for Emmet Bolton to burst through and land the levelling point, only for Louth to tee up Byrne's fifth from play in response.
An inspirational effort from Doyle close to the sideline made it 0-15 each, rewarding the Lilywhites for a strong spell, and the pressure got to both Eoghan O'Flaherty and Lennon as they miscued frees.
Doyle then dug out a pass for substitute Seanie Johnston to shoot Kildare ahead and the Allenwood ace soon flung over a free, with O'Connor growing in influence in terms of winning ball.
The decisive goal arrived shortly afterwards, target man O'Connor doing brilliantly to collect a hopeful delivery in from Smith and he soloed before finishing to the net with Shane McCoy well beaten.
There was no way back for Louth who looked a spent force right at the death, and Kildare rubbed it in with injury-time points from Eoghan O'Flaherty and Doyle - the former's score being a superb effort off the outside of his right boot.
KILDARE: S Connolly; H McGrillen (0-01), P Kelly, D Hyland; P Cribbin (0-01), M O'Flaherty, E Bolton (0-01); Daryl Flynn (0-01), P O'Neill (0-01); Daniel Flynn, M Conway (0-02, 0-02f), E O'Flaherty (0-03); N Kelly (0-01), P Brophy (0-01), J Doyle (0-05, 0-02f).
Subs used: T O'Connor (1-00) for Cribbin (31 mins), A Smith (0-01) for Conway (43), E Callaghan for Daniel Flynn (45), S Johnston (0-01) for Kelly (57), J Byrne for M O'Flaherty (64).
LOUTH: S McCoy; P Rath, D Finnegan, J Bingham; D Crilly, J O'Brien, A Reid; P Keenan, C Rafferty; D Maguire, B White (0-04, 0-02f), R Finnegan (0-01); C Judge (0-03, 0-01f), S Lennon (0-02), C Byrne (0-05).
Subs used: C Bellew for Rath (5 mins, blood sub), R Carroll for Keenan (5-12, blood sub), Carroll for Rafferty (half-time), G Hoey for R Finnegan (58), K Rogers for Maguire (70).
Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)