Meath got off to a flyer in front of their own fans and scored five points in a row before Jack Regan’s goal gave them a 1-6 to 0-1 lead. Gerry Keegan (2-5) replied with a goal to drag Kildare back into the tie.
But it wasn’t until the 10 minutes before half-time that the Lilywhites really moved up through the gears, adding more goals through Keegan and Bernard Deay to trail by just a point, 1-13 to 3-6, at the interval.
Meath held their own throughout a closely contested third quarter despite playing into the wind, but they fell away, after losing Kevin Keogan to a second yellow in the 55th minute and conceded 11 of the last 13 scores.
The other semi-final will be an Ulster derby between Derry and Down at Owenbeg, after Down beat London by 1-22 to 1-13 at Ballycran.
The hosts did most of the damage in the first half with the aid of the wind. Gareth Johnson (1-9) struck an early goal to give them breathing space and while Bernard Gaffney replied in kind for the Exiles, London still trailed by 10 at half-time and never looked like getting back into the tie.
Wicklow preserved their Christy Ring Cup status in Mullingar, where Enan Glynn’s goal helped them to a 1-18 to 1-11 win over Mayo.
Mayo must now prepare for a play-off against the Nicky Rackard Cup winners on June 13 and that tie could be an all-Connacht affair after Roscommon and Armagh each came through their semi-final contests on Saturday.
A goal from Eoin McGuinness and points from Ryan Gaffney (0-8), Martin Moan and Conor Corvan gave Armagh the early initiative against Donegal and they never looked back en route to a 1-20 to 1-11 win at the Athletic Grounds. Roscommon secured revenge for a crucial league defeat to Tyrone earlier this year when they travelled to Carrickmore and came away with a 1-16 to 0-14 win.
Freetakers Damien Casey and Jerry Fallon stood out in the early stages while Tyrone looked to have the momentum at half-time having scored five of the last six points in the opening half (0-9 apiece at the break).
However points from Ronan O’Meara and Micheál Kelly, either side of the only goal of the game from Adrian Murphy, gave Roscommon a lead they maintained to the end.
Longford needed extra time goals from Joe O’Brien and Eoin Donnellan to come through their relegation play-off against Louth as they recorded a 2-20 to 2-16 win at St Loman’s.
In the Lory Meaghar Cup, Kevin McGarry’s late goal and subsequent points from Thomas Cleary, Ciarán Corrigan and John Duffy gave Fermanagh a 2-14 to 1-14 win over Leitrim, a result which secures their place in the competition final.
Sligo moved alongside Leitrim into second place in the group with a 3-21 to 0-13 win over Lancashire at Páirc na hÉireann.