Galway realised their spring objective registering a win to earn a return to Division One of the Allianz Football League.
An experimental Kildare outfit caused Galway problems in the west, but Kevin Walsh’s developing side did just enough to secure the spoils.
The teams will collide again in the Division Two decider next Sunday which offers another competitive fixture ahead of the Championship.
Despite making 14 changes from the team that defeated Clare last Sunday, a new look Kildare still performed adequately in the opening period.
Fionn Dowling, outstanding at centrefield, kicked three sweet first half points from play for Kildare, who only trailed by 0-7 to 0-4 at the break.
Galway offered glimpses of their ability with Tom Flynn, Sean Armstrong, Shane Walsh, and Johnny Heaney rifling over splendid efforts for the Tribesmen, who led by three at the turnaround.
By the 45th minute Galway’s advantage had been extended to five, 0-11 to 0-6, following a decent burst which included scores from Eamonn Brannigan, Armstrong, and Paul Conroy.
Kildare, who introduced a few regulars, continued to battle with David Hyland and Cathal McNally trimming the gap.
Galway responded once more with the pacy duo Walsh and Brannigan kicking excellent points as Galway led 0-13 to 0-8 with 15 minutes remaining.
The Lilywhites struck four points in a row with Niall Kelly (2) and Dowling (2) finding the range with Galway under severe pressure.
Walsh burst through to land a vital score for Galway, but the effective McNally narrowed the gap again for the spirited visitors.
It was a tense finale in Salthill for the bumper home crowd, but Galway will join Kildare in the top flight next year.
Final score: Galway 0-14 Kildare 0-13
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-3, Eamonn Brannigan, Sean Armstrong, Gary Sice (2fs) and Barry McHugh (2fs) 0-2 each, Paul Conroy, Johnny Heaney, and Tom Flynn 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kildare: Fionn Dowling 0-5 (1f), Ben McCormack, Cathal McNally, and Niall Kelly 0-2 each, David Hyland, and Eamonn Callaghan 0-1 each.
GALWAY: Ruairi Lavelle; David Wynne, David Walsh, Cathal Sweeney; Gary O'Donnell, Michael Farragher, Johnny Heaney; Paul Conroy, Fiontan O'Curraoin; Gary Sice, Shane Walsh, Tom Flynn; Eamonn Brannigan, Barry McHugh, Sean Armstrong.
Subs: Micheal Lundy for Gary Sice (57), Ian Burke for Barry McHugh (63), Liam Silke for Michael Farragher (67).
KILDARE: Shane McNamara; Darren Maguire, Mark Hyland, Liam Healy; Peter Kelly, Shea Ryan, Emmet Bolton; Fionn Dowling, Paschal Connell; Eddie Heavey, Conor Hartley, Con Kavanagh; Cathal McNally, Eamonn Callaghan, Ben McCormack.
Subs: David Hyland for Peter Kelly (24, BC), Keith Cribbin for Emmet Bolton (40), Niall Kelly for Ben McCormack (50), Paul Cribbin for Eddie Heavey (52), Kevin Feely for Paschal Connell (56, BC), David Slattery for Conor Hartley (63).
REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry).
Kevin Walsh’s Galway cruised to victory over Donegal to book an All Ireland Quarter-Final date against Kerry.
Galway bounced back emphatically as Johnny Heaney kicked 2-2 and Liam Silke and Danny Cummins scored their other goals in a massive win at Markievicz Park in Sligo.
They advance to face Kerry now after beating a poor Donegal side despite having Declan Kyne sent-off in the second-half. Donegal had three of their players black carded and it was a disastrous outing for them as they finished up their campaign.
Galway made a brilliant start and two quick points from Sean Armstrong and Shane Walsh gave them the early ascendency.
Michael Murphy kicked two points in the fourth and sixth minutes to tie the game up before Armstrong cancelled those out with two more of his own – the Salthill/Knocknacarra clubman was a late inclusion instead of Eamonn Brannigan for Galway.
Donegal took the lead for the first time after three points in a row by Paddy McBrearty (twice), and Michael Murphy, but Galway came alive in the second-quarter.
Galway hit 3-5 before the break while Micheal Murphy and substitute Martin McElhinney had the only reprieve for Donegal. Meanwhile Galway blitzed their opponents with Heaney fisting their first goal in the 18th minute.
Galway got their second goal in the 26th minute and it was a massive turning point when Liam Silke fired home their penalty.
Donegal goalkeeper Marc Anthony McGinley got a black card when he tripped Tom Flynn and the Corofin clubman made no mistake from the resultant penalty.
Donegal were down and out at that stage and Galway got their third goal before half-time when Heaney fisted home his second.
It was 3-9 to 0-7 in favour of Galway at the break and they kicked three quick points through Heaney, Armstrong and Gary O’Donnell at the start of the second-half.
That killed off any chance of a fight back and Donegal had Michael Murphy and Martin McElhinney black card as their challenge faded.
Having used their full complement of substitutes already Donegal finished with 13 players.
Paddy McBrearty tried to take the fight to Galway, but he missed a penalty and the rebound when Cathal Sweeney got Galway’s black card after fouling Martin O’Reilly with 11 minutes remaining.
Galway kicked on again, Micheal Meehan made his reappearance in the latter stages and then fellow substitute Danny Cummins kicked their fourth goal.
FINAL SCORE: GALWAY 4-17 DONEGAL 0-14
Scorers for Galway: Johnny Heaney 2-2, Sean Armstrong 0-6 (4fs), Liam Silke 1-0 (1-0 pen), Danny Cummins 1-0, Gary O’Donnell 0-2, Shane Walsh 0-1, Paul Conroy 0-1, Ian Burke 0-1, Damien Comer 0-1, Eamonn Brannigan 0-2, Michael Daly 0-1.
Scorers for Donegal: Paddy McBrearty 0-6 (2fs), Michael Murphy 0-4 (3fs, 145), Martin O’Reilly 0-2, Martin McElhinney 0-1, Michael Langan 0-1.
GALWAY: Bernard Power, Eoghan Kerin, Declan Kyne, Cathal Sweeney; Gary O’Donnell, Gareth Bradshaw, Liam Silke; Paul Conroy, Tom Flynn; Johnny Heaney, Micheal Daly, Sean Armstrong; Ian Burke, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.
Subs: David Wynne for Sweeney (60, black card), Eamonn Branningan for Walsh (60), Danny Cummins for Daly (63), Michael Meehan for Comer (68), David Walsh for Bradshaw (72), Cillian McDaid for O’Donnell (72).
DONEGAL: Mark Anthony McGinley; Caolan Ward, Kieran Gillespie, Neil McGee; Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Paddy McGrath; Jason McGee, Michael Murphy; Mark McHugh, Eoin McHugh, Frank McGlynn; Jamie Brennan, Hugh McFadden, Patrick McBrearty.
Subs: Peter Boyle for McGinley (25, black card), Michael Langan for Brennan (35), Martin McElhinney for McGlynn (36), Karl Lacey for Gillespie (half-time), Ciaran Thompson for McFadden (42), Martin O’Reilly for E McHugh (42).
REFEREE: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).