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Have County turned the corner?

Kildare County 1 Athlone Town 0

Was it the fact they the team was being watched by the All Ireland Champions St Conleths, was it the new stand, or the return of the new young fans - whatever it was it certainly was a changed atmosphere last night at Station Road as County had their first League win at home since John Ryan’s men beat Wexford last May.

John recalled Austin O’Neill in goal after his injury, also recalled to defence was Colin Osborne while Craig Mooney started on the bench.

It was a good team performance but credit must go to Austin O’Neill who brought off two or three world class saves to deny Athlone Town an equaliser that they richly deserved.

As John Ryan said after the game “We deserved our bit of luck – it is something we have been lacking all year” and how right he was.

Both teams went into this game knowing that defeat would cost them dearly.Athlone came into the game on the back of three successive draws that had seen them pull away from the bottom of the League.

What a night it was for Colin Osborne who scored his first ever goal for the club and waht a time to score it . Centre half Colin showed great composure inside the Athlone box to score the game’s only goal in the 21st minute after a Cathal Brady corner. Osbourne showed nimble feet and the finishing instincts of a striker to fire low past Ciaran Kelly after the ball fell nicely for him.

With both teams prepared to play attacking football the game was very entertaining, defying the fact that both sides languish near the bottom of the table.

Kildare took advantage of the early goal and with Hughes and Robinson prepared to chase everything and with the midfield of Farrell – making his home debut, Slattery, Brady and Donnolly holding their own.Kildare were content to let Athlone force the pace and to look for an equaliser.

Athlone laid siege to the Kildare goal in the second half but they contrived to miss all manner of chances and that combined with a fine performance from Kildare County goalkeeper Austin O’Neill meant they couldn’t find a breakthrough.

Russo, Mernagh and McGee all missed good chances in the second half and their night was summed up nine minutes from time when McGee and Reilly collided with each other in their desperation to reach Jink’s cross and between them, they could only fire wide from just six yards out.

Yes it was one of those nights when everything went right for County but how many times this year has “lady luck” been with our opponents.

So have County turned the corner.One certainty is the young “home based” players have proved that there is talent in Kildare and with Colin Osborne, Dave O’Connell and the impressive Orrin Farrell and Trevor Bowers the future is looking bright.

“The future is black and white

County now face Shelbourne next Thursday in Tolka Park and Limerick in Station Road next Sunday.

Kildare County: O’Neilll; Vickey (O’Connell 56), Issaka (Mooney h/t), Walsh, Osbourne; Brady, Slattery, Donnelly, Farrell; Robinson, Hughes (Bowers 60). Yellow Cards: Walsh 32, Osbourne 46. Goalscorer: Osbourne 21

Athlone Town: Kelly; Fallon (O’Dowd 77), Hamm, Hope, Keady; Maloney (McCartney h/t), Russo, Jinks, Reilly; Lavine (Mernagh h/t), McGee. Yellow Cards: Keady 41, Reilly 63.

Referee: P. Sutton (Clare).

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