Shelbourne very nearly made the worst possible start to life in the eircom League First Division before they plundered a late goal to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Kildare County at Tolka Park.

Three months after the Reds were crowned Premier Division champions new boss Dermot Keely led out a new team which looked distinctly average for long spells.

Indeed, the pick of the early chances came the way of Kildare. Philip Gorman and McCrossan were both involved as Amond struck a third minute effort in the direction of the Shelbourne goal.

Former Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper O’Dowd saved that attempt with ease but he could little about the next Kildare shot on goal, which came from the penalty spot.

There were four minutes on the clock when Gorman galloped clean through on O’Dowd's goal, only for the veteran forward to be upended by Kieran Ryan. Gorman subsequently sent O’Dowd the wrong way to give Kildare a surprise lead, one which lasted less than ten minutes.

When Glen Lacey whipped in an innocuous looking corner from the right the Kildare defence failed to clear their lines and Brian Gartland applied a bullet-like header to the net.

However to the fury of Keely some calamitous defending let Kildare in for a second goal on 28 minutes. Alan Byrne supplied the ammunition with a throw-in from the left and with the Shels defence at sixes and sevens Gary Walsh darted in to score.

In a scrappy second half the closest Shels went to scoring came just after the hour when another header from Gartland crept just over the crossbar.

The half produced little in the way of free-flowing football but it mattered little for Shels as Darren McKenna headed home a Glen Lacey free with less than two minutes left.