Man of the match Eamonn Callaghan ended a wonderful all-round display with his fourth point of the tie in the third minute of injury time to deny the visitors the draw that would have kept them in Division Two.
Two excellent points from second-half sub David Maye looked to have rescued the westerners but it wasn’t to be as Callaghan struck at the death to deny them.
“You can go back to other matches” said Walsh afterwards when considering lost opportunities. “In Donegal we left the points behind. (Today), depending, on other results, you could have stayed up or gone down and that’s the way it happens. We had oceans of possession in other games and didn’t put it away but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
The Sligo boss found plenty of positives both from this game and the overall campaign, despite the relegation.
“There’s no team we weren’t able to compete against. Even in the second-half there, it looked like Kildare were going to steamroll us at times but in the last 15 minutes they were hanging on by the skin of their teeth and got two whoppers of points. I think they were Hail Mary jobs and they happened to go over the bar.”
Sligo threw everything at Kildare but the hosts didn’t help their cause either — gifting an eighth minute goal to Stephen Coen and then spurning a host of scoring chances, especially in the third quarter.
Three points from young star Fionn Dowling, coupled with some good scores by Johnny Doyle, Ronan Sweeney and Hugh Lynch helped them establish a five-point advantage.
But Sligo finally started to get their hands on some possession around the middle third as Daryl Flynn began to tire and kicked five consecutive points to restore parity.
Eamonn O’Hara produced the equaliser in the 66th minute but he should have goaled after making a brilliant catch. The veteran just got under his shot too much though and the ball cleared the crossbar by inches.
Padraig O’Neill and the outstanding Gary White fired over two wonder points for Kildare but Maye’s contribution brought the teams level before Callaghan had the final say.
KILDARE: S Connolly; A Mac Lochlainn, M Foley, H McGrillen; G White 0-1, M O’Flaherty, E Bolton; H Lynch 0-1, D Flynn; E Callaghan 0-4, R Sweeney 0-1, B Flanagan 0-1; E O’Flaherty 0-3(2fs), F Dowling 0-3, J Doyle 0-1.
Subs: O Lyons for McGrillen (28); P O’Neill 0-1) for Sweeney (49); J Kavanagh for Dowling (55); C Brophy for Flynn (64); K Cribbin for Flanagan (64)
SLIGO: P Greene; C Harrisson, N Ewing, R Donovan; D Rooney, P McGovern, K Cawley; T Taylor, S Gilmartin 0-1; A Costello 0-1, M Breheny 0-2(1f), S Davey; S Coen 1-2, E O’Hara 0-1, A Marren 0-2(fs).
Subs: F Quinn 0-1 for Davey (29); B Egan for Taylor (58); D Maye 0-2(1f) for Marren (64); B Kennedy for Cawley (64)
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).