Good Crowd, Good Show, Wrong result
Maybe Fran Gavin is correct in stating that attendances are up, Maybe it is County Supporters coming out to support their own, or maybe it is just that Shels were in town. For whatever reason the attendance at Station Road last night was much improved on the previous occasions this season.
John Ryan made the changes as County tried to forget last week’s dismal performance in Athlone.
Back from suspension came Paul Donnelly and into the centre of defence came Glenn Walsh and David O’Connell both making their debuts for County- it was bold gamble considering they were up against Shelbourne who are in contention with Waterford and Dundalk for honours this season.
With the loan agreement of Philly Hughes stipulating that he could not play Shelbourne Ger Robinson came back into the fold.
The first half saw Shelbourne place the new defence under pressure but the defence responded with a commitment and maturity that showed that in time as they gel together better that the days of leaking goals will no longer be a part of this team.
County were looking decidedly dodgy on the left side of defence and following Isaaka’s booking it was no surprise when Isaaka was replaced by Eoin Kavanagh at full back.
Playing five across the middle County began to weather the storm and with increased belief had the audacity to attack Shelbourne and test the Shels defence who had former County favourite Daisy Brennan at the heart of their defence for the injured Alan Keely.
It was from one of these attacks that Ciaran Kilduff was taken down on the edge of the box by Mark O’Brien – O Brien was to have an amazingly up and down game for Shels last night- after 37 minutes.
Kilduff took the penalty kick himself and sent Dean Delaney the wrong way to the delight of the “Colts” and County supporters around the ground.
Ger Robinson was unlucky when he tried to curl the ball out of the reach of Dedan Delaney having been put through by a typical Colin Fortune ball that split the Shels defence.
County trooped off at half time with a deserving lead. Whatever was put in the tea at half time in the Shelbourne dressing room worked as Shels were a different team on the resumption.
Shels drew level just two minutes into the second half. Kildare had failed to deal with a Mark O'Brien's set piece and Robbie Hedderman stayed up for the resulting corner. The Shels man then struck home through a crowded goalmouth to level matters.
Gary McCabe nearly put Shels in front on 54 minutes but his left foot effort cannoned off the left post. Mark Rutherford beat Austin O'Neill with a looping effort two minutes later but the ball bounced back off the County crossbar.
The visitors didn't have to wait long though until they went in front on 57 minutes, Mark O'Brien got the better of a tussle with Eoin Kavanagh down the right wing before picking out the unmarked David Freeman and he fired home at first glance from ten yards out.
Mark Rutherford made a big difference when he joined the action and he raced through to set up a good scoring opportunity for himself on 75 minutes but Austin O'Neill made amends for his error with a marvelous save.
County's best chance inside the closing stages came on 81 minutes when Dean Delaney failed to claim Eoin Kavanagh's corner kick and the ball fell kindly to Colin Fortune but his effort from the edge of the box was inches wide of the left post.
Gary McCabe was just off target with an attempted chip with seven minutes remaining for the visitors, but they held out in comfortable fashion to take the honours - a result which continues their pursuit of league honours this season.
KILDARE COUNTY: O'Neill, Slattery, Isaaka, Donnelly (c), Walsh, O'Connell, Kilkenny, Fortune, Mooney, Robinson, Kilduff.
Subs: Kavanagh for Isaaka (35 mins), Powderly for Robinson (67 mins), Osbourne for O'Connell (85 mins).
SHELBOURNE FC: Delaney, Chambers, Hedderman, Lawrence, Brennan (c), O'Brien, McGill, McCabe, Keddy, Freeman, Georgescu.
Subs: Rutherford for Georgescu (32 mins), Murphy for O'Brien (74 mins), Byrne for McCabe (85 mins).
REFEREE: Sean Grant (Wexford).