Galway came away from Austin Stack Park with a comfortable victory over Kerry, but Wexford's defeat of Offaly in Tullamore has put paid to their slim hopes of making an instant return to Division 1A.
Padraig Brehony's 33rd minute goal was all that separated the sides at half-time with the visitors holding a 1-7 to 0-7 lead. However, it was one-way traffic in the second half as the returning Joe Canning and Cathal Mannion fired the Tribesmen to their third win of the campaign.
In what was his first start since injuring his hamstring in last August's All-Ireland SHC semi-final defeat to Tipperary, Canning posted nine points, including three from play. He was ably assisted in the scoring stakes by corner forward Mannion, who hit five from play.
The Westerners didn't have things their own way in the first half with a wind-assisted Kerry giving as good as they got. Points from Canning and Paul Flaherty had Galway 0-5 to 0-2 up after 17 minutes, but the Kingdom then enjoyed a purple patch which yielded scores from Shane Nolan, Jordan Conway and Padraig Boyle and tied up the scoring at 0-7 apiece after 31 minutes.
However, Brehony's goal was a bodyblow from which they never recovered as Galway outscored them by 0-15 to 0-5 in the second half.
Indeed, the hosts were fortunate not to concede a second goal when Canning's shot hit the crossbar and the post before coming back into play six minutes from the end.
Galway - J Skehill; P Mannion, P Killeen, J Grealish; Daithi Burke (0-1), A Tuohy, G McInerney (0-1); J Coen, P Brehony (1-0); David Burke, N Burke (0-2), P Flaherty (0-2); S Maloney (0-1), J Canning (0-9, 6f), C Mannion (0-5). Subs: M Donohue for J Grealish, C Cooney for S Maloney, C Whelan (0-1) for P Flaherty.
Kerry - M Stackpoole; J O'Connor, R Horgan, S Weir; D Collins, B Murphy, D Dineen; J Goulding, P O'Connor; S Nolan (0-6f), P Kelly, C Harty (0-1); J Conway (0-2), P Boyle (0-1), J Buckley. Subs: B O'Leary (0-1) for P Kelly, T Murnane for P Boyle, K Carmody (0-1) for P O'Connor, T O'Connor for J Goulding.
Referee - C Lyons.