It was Easter Sunday and Johnny Doyle rose to the occasion to send Kildare up to Division 1. His last gasp penalty conversion earned the Lilies a draw in Pearse Stadium and a place among the big guns in 2013.
The Allenwood man held his nerve brilliantly to dispatch the spot kick past Galway net minder Adrian Faherty and the sizeable travelling supporters went wild.
Only minutes before that Kildare looked like they were set to leave Salthill empty handed as the home side held a three point advantage heading in to stoppage time.
Kieran McGeeney’s side were left with no option other than to go for the jugular.
A free in from Carbury man Eoghan O’Flaherty caused all the problems. Emmet Bolton was on the end of it but then he was pulled back by Kieran McGrath. Penalty, said Laois referee Eddie Kinsella. A get out of jail free card for Kildare.
Nurney’s Mikey Conway fancied his chances with the spot kick but Doyle was having none of it. The captain over ruled his team mate. Great decision it was too.
Hearts were pounding on the terraces as Doyle stood over the penalty but there was no need to worry. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Doyle made no mistake and up the Lilies will go.
Kildare might have made hard work of it in the end but at one point they looked likely to cruise to promotion.
Kieran McGeeney’s charges put in a stunning opening half display and Galway were shell shocked.
Sarsfields’ Alan Smith was the star of the first half show, scoring four points from play but after the turnaround Kildare went flat.
Galway, who introduced the great Padraic Joyce in the second half, turned round a four point interlude deficit to lead by four by the 63rd minute.
For once though, the Gods were smiling on Kildare and they got their break. They will now face Tyrone in the Division 2 final in Croke Park on April 29. First up though is a training camp in Portugal.