County blow it in 18 minutes
Kildare County 1 Shelbourne 3
Having put their futile journey to Lissywollen on Saturday last behind them John Ryan’s side were faced with the task of hosting Shelbourne – many punters favourites to take the title this year – at Station Road on Friday night. Five new signings, keeper Charlie Tracey, full back Alan Clarke, centre back John Brophy, Willie Tyrell and Ciaran Kilduff, all made their debut for the Thoroughbreds.
With a game already under their belts the Reds started strongly and they had the ball in the home net after three minutes when Robbie Hedderman has his “goal” disallowed after Damien Brennan had headed down a James Chambers free.
Two minutes later an Anto Murphy shot from outside the box was just high of the target. County had a glorious chance to open their account after twenty-five minutes when Philly Gorman challenged keeper Dean Delaney for a Barry Clancy cross and the ball fell to Cathal Brady, who set up Barry Slattery but Alan Keely somehow managed to block his net-bound shot.
Almost immediately Slattery was again in the thick of the action when he combined with Cathal Brady to set up Philly Gorman but keeper Delaney made a fine save from Gormans low drive.
In the 29th. minute Alan Murphy struck a free from just outside the Kildare box straight at the wall. The ball broke, leaving the home side with a three on one situation but following a neat one two between Slattery and Brady the latter scuffed his shot badly.
All the County pressure eventually paid off when just after the half hour mark Alan Clarke sent the ball forward and with Shels appealing for offside against Philly Gorman, Brady ran from deep and squared for Slattery, who finally found the net. This was no more than the Thoroughbreds deserved but a disastrous eighteen minute spell shortly after the restart saw County fall 3-1 behind.
The second half was just a minute old when there was a warning of what was to follow when keeper Charlie Tracey made a superb diving save from Anto Flood after a cross from Alan Mulcahy. The visitors levelled after 48 minutes when a free from the left by Greg O’Halloran was parried by keeper Tracey into the path of Damien Brennan, who dived low to head home from six yards.
Just four minutes later Dermot Keely’s men took the lead when Flood rose highest to place a well directed header past Treacy from an Alan Mulcahy free kick. The home side found themselves further behind when O’Halloran set up Freeman with a perfect through ball which he curled delightfully with the outside of his right boot past the advancing Tract and just inside the left post.
To County’s credit they fought back and were most unlucky when somehow Delaney tipped Ciaran Kilduff drive onto the bar when set up by substitute Harte in the 70th. minute. Two minutes later County centre back John Brophy rose to head a Barry Clancy corner inches wide of the post.
A reckless tackle by County’s Willie Tyrell on Alan Keeley saw referee Phil Caschera issue a straight red card to the defender.
Try as they might there was no way that the new look Kildare side could undo the damage caused during those eighteen minutes of madness early in the second half. A win is a must now for John Ryan’s charges when they take on Wexford Youths on Friday next at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night at 8pm:
County: Treacy, Clarke, Brophy, Tyrell, Clancy, Brady (Mooney 85), Slattery, Donnelly, Kilduff, Gorman, Robinson ( Harte 61).
Shelbourne: Delaney, Murphy, Hedderman, Keely, Brennan, Chambers (Mulcahy HT), O’Halloran, McGill (Byrne 81), Keddy (Rutherford 72), Flood Freeman.
Referee: Phil Caschera (Dublin) ... Click on link below for highlights.