Brendan Graham reports from Tolka Park
A powerful first half header from Jaze Kabia was enough to see Shelbourne record a narrow 1-0 victory over Dublin rivals St. Patrick’s Athletic n Friday evening in front of an impressive crowd of 3,054 in Tolka Park.
Right from kick-off there was a real derby atmosphere with flares, glares and not too many spares around Tolka Park this evening.
It was the visitors who managed to settle better into the game with the first chance falling to striker Ronan Hale.
A chipped free-kick on the edge of the box from Chris Forrester was met with a looping header from Hale but his aerial effort narrowly cleared the crossbar of Jack Brady.
It took the home side longer than they would have wished to settle into the game but as the first-half progressed the experience of Sheppard, Deegan and Ryan Brennan in midfield began to show as Shelbourne began to find their composure and take their time when in possession of the ball.
They were equally as comfortable without the ball as the half wore on and Ian Morris would have been very happy with the hunger and intensity his side were showing to win the ball back as they looked for the opener.
On ten minutes they had a great chance to take the lead. A deep corner from Karl Sheppard found its way all the way to Daniel O’Reilly at the back post but the defender couldn’t keep his header on target and blazed over from close range.
The chance instilled a confidence in the home side and Kabia and Sheppard on wings for the home side began to cause St. Pats problems.
The impressive Kabia was asking plenty of questions of Saints skipper Ian Bermingham down the right wing and the home side were edging closer and closer to finding the breakthrough.
Their intensity and work rate to win the ball was really paying off as the half wore on with the instructions from the side line not to give the Pats players any time at all to settle.
On twenty three minutes, the St. Pats rear guard eventually succumbed to the huge wave of pressure that continued to come their way.
Another brilliant set piece from Sheppard was met with a powerful header from Jaze Kabia who shrugged off the close attention from Bermingham once more to give his side the lead.
No less than the home side deserved really with their superior intensity and will to win the ball helping them take the lead.
As the first half drew to a close, St. Pats started to get on top with Shelbourne’s composure that they had displayed so valiantly up to then going missing completely.
With plenty of possession and the home side pinned inside their own half, St. Pats pushed hard for a goal with King and Forrester testing Brady late on but Brady stood tall and saved well on both occasions to keep the game at 1-0 heading in at the break.
Both managers made early enough changes to their sides as the second half began. George Poynton was introduced by Ian Morris with Stephen O’Donnell bringing on James Doona and Martin Rennie as he looked to ease the midfield headache his side were struggling to overcome.
On the hour mark the away fans were sure their side had found their equaliser when a Bermingham corner is knocked back into the box by Darragh Markey, the helpless Brady is still on the ground from the initial corner but somehow manages to gather the ball and relieve the danger once more for the home side.
St. Pats were still well in the game as the second half progressed with Forrester looking dangerous anytime he got himself on the ball but their evening soon went from bad to worse.
Rory Feely, who had picked up his first yellow early on the first half, was shown his second of the evening and sent to the dressing room for what was deemed to be a cynical challenge and tangle of legs as Dobbs advanced towards goal.
Shelbourne’s extra man was telling immediately with Karl Sheppard enjoying lots of space on the wing and another sublime delivery from Sheppard almost led to a second for the home side.
His perfectly timed cross was met by the head of striker Aaron Dobbs but he sees his header crash back off the crossbar and out of play for a goal kick.
Chris Forrester had a late effort from distance for St. Pats but once again the impressive Jack Brady watched it all the way and in the end made an easy save.
It has been a long wait but the home fans really enjoyed this one with Shelbourne holding on for the five minutes of additional time to record an impressive 1-0 victory over their Dublin rivals St. Patrick’s Athletic.
Shelbourne: Jack Brady; Aidan Friel, Daniel O’Reilly, Oscar Brennan; Shane Farrell (George Poynton 51), Alex O’Hanlon, Gary Deegan, Ryan Brennan, Jaze Kabia (Dayle Rooney 81); Karl Sheppard, Aaron Dobbs
Subs not Used: Colin McCabe, Sean Quinn, Daniel McKenna, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Denzil Fernandes
Booked: Shane Farrell (Yellow 47), Gary Deegan (Yellow 34)
St. Pats: Brendan Clarke; Rory Feely, Ian Bermingham (Jake Walker 81), Lee Desmond, Luke McNally; Chris Forrester, Darragh Markey, Billy King, Jason McClelland (James Doona 61); Ronan Hale (Martin Rennie 62), Dean Clarke
Subs not Used: Conor Kearns, Dan Ward, Jamie Lennon, Shane Griffin
Booked: Rory Feely (Yellow 11, second yellow 69 and red), Chris Forrester (Yellow 69)
Referee: Sean Grant
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Karl Sheppard