Kevin McDonnell’s 67th minute goal was the crucial score as it helped Sligo into a three point lead and although Kildare - reduced to 14 men when Adam Tyrrell picked up a second yellow card in the 53rd minute — scored two points in injury time they couldn’t find an equaliser.
It’s a hugely significant result at both ends of the table and is a massive boost to Sligo’s hopes of avoiding relegation, while also denying Kildare a chance of securing promotion with two games to spare.
The sides were tied at 0-7 apiece at half time before the game exploded into life with goals at either end inside the space of 30 seconds in the 39th minute.
Kyle Cawley found the top corner of the Kildare net after he allowed far too much room but Kildare’s reply was instantaneous when Padraig O’Neill poked home from close range.
The hosts looked to regain control when Eamonn Callaghan’s shot dipped into the net in the 45th minute to put Kildare 2-9 to 1-9 ahead. But there was plenty more drama to come.
Tyrrell’s dismissal swung it back in Sligo’s favour and they tied the game by the 60th minute after points from Niall Murphy, who finished the game with ten points, and Cawley.
Niall Kelly put Kildare in front for the last time in the 63rd minute but McDonnell’s late goal put the Connacht side ahead again. Murphy added on a free a minute later to extend the gap to three points going into injury time.
Kildare pushed forward in search of a dramatic ending but Sligo defended and restricted the home side to points from Niall Kelly and an Eoghan O’Flaherty free.
N Murphy 0-10 (5fs, 2’45); Keelan Cawley 1-1, K McDonnell 1-0, P Hughes 0-2 Brendan Egan 0-1, A McIntyre 0-1.
P O’Neill 1-1, É O’Connor 0-3 (2fs), E Callaghan 1-0, N Kelly 0-3, T Moolick 0-2; A Tyrell 0-2 (1f), M Byrne 0-1, J Byrne 0-1, E O’Flaherty 0-1f.
A Devaney; C Harrison, K McDonnell, D Maye; Kyle Cawley, Brendan Egan, G O’Kelly-Lynch; A McIntyre, N Murphy; N Ewing, C Breheny, C Davey; Keelan Cawley, P Hughes, B Egan.
P Clarke for Brian Egan, 64; D Rooney for Ewing, 68 BC; N Gaughan for Keelan Cawley, 70 BC; S Henry for Davey, 70.
M Donnellan; O Lyons, D Hyland, C Fitzpatrick; E Bolton, F Conway, E Powderly; K Feely, T Moolick; A Tyrell , N Kelly, M Byrne; P O’Neill, É O’Connor, E Callaghan.
C O’Donoghue for Bolton, 34; C McNally for M Byrne, h/t; J Byrne for Conway, 47; E O’Flaherty for O’Connor, 50; A Smith for O’Neill, 55; P Kelly for Fitzpatrick, 68.