Andrew Dempsey reports from Tolka Park
Ryan Brennan’s second goal of the season was enough to earn Shelbourne a point in a keenly contested affair between the Reds and Derry City.
Ibrahim Meite’s first-half spot-kick gave the Candystripes the lead, but it was Brennan who earned Ian Morris’ side a point.
The last time Shelbourne saw themselves crowned Premier Division champions; it was Derry City who they overcame following a titanic title battle with the then Stephen Kenny managed side.
However, it has been a long time since then, with the Reds and Derry both having to endure spells in the First Division since then.
The game, which generally has so much spice and nostalgia attached to it – appeared a shell of its former self, even more so in this ‘new normal’ that we are all living through in this current climate.
Shelbourne – for the first time since the league’s restart – invited a select group of fans into the ground – and despite their best efforts, they were unable to recreate the colour and passion that a Shels and Derry game would usually create.
The game began in a lively fashion, with the hosts pressing well, despite allowing the visitors have much of the early possession stakes.
Daniel O’Reilly was forced into making a pivotal block early onto deny Walter Figueira from getting an effort on target, much to his manager’s relief.
The Reds’ pressure and intensity off the ball saw them have the first shot on target of the game, as Peter Cherrie parried clear Karl Sheppard’s effort from outside the penalty area.
Shels captain Gary Deegan was next to go have an effort for the hosts, but his long-range effort was always rising over Cherrie’s bar.
Derry responded through Joe Thomson – but he saw his shot just go over the bar after some good build-up play from the Candystripes.
And on the half-hour mark, Derry took the lead through Ibrahim Meite’s spot-kick. Meite sent Colin McCabe the wrong way after he was taken down by the trailing leg of Sean Quinn.
The hosts were stunned by that body blow, and they nearly saw their deficit doubled minutes later, but McCabe stood firm to deny Steven Mallon.
However, they responded – and were perhaps unfortunate to be denied a spot-kick of their own, but referee Neil Doyle waved away the protests.
Shane Farrell then went close, but his long-range strike was well saved by Cherrie as the Candystripes took a one-nil lead into the break.
Shels continued to press as the second half began, and their cause was aided following the introduction of substitute Jaze Kabia.
Kabia went close but both he and Daniel O’Reilly were denied were denied by some heroic Derry goalmouth defending from a Dayle Rooney corner-kick.
Derry City went close through an opportunity of their own on the 70th minute, but Figueira was denied by the head of O’Reilly after previously nudging both him and Daniel Byrne off the ball.
Shels sub Aaron Dobbs also went close following his introduction, but he was denied by Cherrie’s smart save.
However, the Reds would restore parity fourteen minutes from time through Ryan Brennan. Brennan got his head on Georgie Poynton’s excellent free-kick to level the game for the hosts.
Declan Devine responded through making two subs of his own, and they nearly re-took the lead through one of his latest subs Adam Hammill.
The former Barnsley attacker saw two consecutive efforts smack off the top of the Shelbourne bar within the space of a minute.
Shels threatened with an effort of their own five minutes from time, but Kabia’s weak effort from range did not trouble the Derry keeper.
Jack Malone however went closest to a winner just two minutes from time – but his header went over the bar rather than in the back of the Shels net.
Next up for Shels is a visit to Tallaght Stadium to face Shamrock Rovers, while Derry City host relegation threatened Cork City at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Shelbourne: Colin McCabe; Daniel Byrne, Alex O'Hanlon, Daniel O'Reilly, George Poynton; Gary Deegan, Shane Farrell (Denzil Fernandes, 73), Sean Quinn (Ryan Brennan, 66); Ciarán Kilduff, Dayle Rooney (Aaron Dobbs, 73), Karl Sheppard (Jaze Kabia, 52).
Subs not used: Jack Brady, Aidan Friel, Brian McManus.
Booked: Sean Quinn (60).
Sent off: None.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie ; Darren Cole (Mark McChrystal, 67), Ciaran Coll, Colm Horgan, Eoin Toal; Gerardo Bruna, Ciaron Harkin (Jack Malone, 78), Stephen Mallon (Jake Dunwoody, 78), Joe Thomson (Conor McCormack, 58) ; Walter Figueira, Ibrahim Meite (Adam Hammill, 58).
Subs not used: Conor Clifford, Nathan Gartside.
Booked: Jake Dunwoody (83).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Neil Doyle
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Georgie Poynton (Shelbourne).