Kieran McGeeney had to settle for a draw on his first return to Kildare as an opposing manager after Jimmy Hyland earned the home team a share of the spoils with the last kick of the game.
It meant a frustrating afternoon for McGeeney because his team created the better chances throughout the game and once Stefan Campbell scored the game’s only goal in the 49th minute they led by five points.
That really should have been enough to win what had been a closely fought game up to then but credit to Kildare, they battled back strongly in the final quarter.
Having lost all seven games in Division 1 last season, the last thing Kildare wanted was to start their season by losing their first home game and they responded well to the setback of Campbell’s goal.
Ben McCormack kickstarted the comeback before fine long-range points from Conor Hartley, Fergal Conway, Aaron Masterson and a 45-metre effort from Hyland in the 70th minute drew the game.
Armagh got their noses in front in the third additional minute through a close range Rory Grugan free but in the last attack of the game, McCormack was fouled and Hyland clipped over the resulting free.
Although it was the strong finish that earned Kildare the draw, Armagh might reflect that they left the game behind them in the first half.
Playing with a strong wind, they had eight wides, dropped a couple short, saw Connaire Mackin hit the crossbar with a good chance and Campbell had a goal rightly disallowed for over-carrying the ball.
That left Kildare, who lost vice-captain Kevin Feely to an early injury, very much still in the game and it was 0-6 each at the break.
The home defence was caught out in the 49th minute when a long ball by Grugan picked out Campbell.
He was left one on one with David Hyland and skipped past him before firing home.
In a game as tight as this, that should have been enough to see them home, especially as a Niall Grimley point a minute later made it 1-10 to 0-7, but Kildare finished out the game with a flourish to avoid defeat.
Scorers for Kildare: J Hyland 0-4 (3f); C Hartley, F Dowling and B McCormack 0-2 each; E Doyle, A Tyrrell (1f), F Conway and A Masterson 0-1 each.
Scorers for Armagh: S Campbell 1-1; J Clarke and N Grimley (2f) 0-3 each; R Grugan 0-2 (2f); J Hall and J Og Burns 0-1 each.
KILDARE: M Donnellan; M Dempsey, D Hyland, M Hyland; J Murray, E Doyle, K Cribbin; K Feely, F Conway; C Hartley, A Tyrrell, E O’Flaherty; D Slattery, B McCormack, J Hyland.
Subs: F Dowling for Feely (7 inj); C O’Donoghue for Murray (48 -53, B/S); A Masterson for O’Flaherty (53); C O’Donoghue for M Hyland (59); J Gibbons for Hartley (60); P Nash for Tyrrell (68).
ARMAGH: B Hughes; M Shields, J Morgan, A Forker; G McCabe, A McKay, C Mackin; S Sheridan, N Grimley; J Hall, J Og Burns, R McShane; R Grugan, J Clarke, S Campbell.
Subs: R O’Neill for Burns (48); J McElroy for Hall (60); J Duffy for McShane (65); D Loye for Forker (70 + 3).
Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).