League Report: Shelbourne 1 - 0 Dundalk

Macdara Ferris reports from Tolka Park

Shelbourne deservedly claimed all three points in Tolka Park against Dundalk thanks to an early Will Jarvis goal giving the Reda a win that moves them into fourth place in the table.

The Hull City vice-chairman Tan Kesler was a happy spectator as the victory very much keeps his League of Ireland club’s hopes of European football in 2024 very much alive.

The loss for the Lilywhites meanwhile effectively ends their chance of a campaign in Europe next year and they didn’t really deserve to take anything away with them from Tolka Park on this occasion.

Shels had the lead inside four minutes after a great turn and run from the halfway line by Jack Moylan.

He played in Jarvis who took the ball around goalkeeper Nathan Sheppard before rifling the ball into the top left corner of the net at Drumcondra end of the ground to the delight of the Tolka Park home supporters.

There was no touch line celebration for Damien Duff after the goal though as he was suspended from the bench after some disparaging comments he made about referee Paul McLaughlin after the Red’s 1-0 reversal against Shamrock Rovers last week.

Duff’s men certainly bounced back from that loss in Tallaght and dominated the opening half against Dundalk. Jarvis and Moylan tormented the Lilywhite defence with Darren Brownlee taking the brunt of their runs.

Moylan raced through on 11 minutes with Greg Sloggett in close attendance and the Dundalk player, who has been slotting in at centre half recently, blocked the shot before Sheppard was called into action.

Mid-way through the half Moylan created two chances for himself in a minute and he was unlucky not to put at least one of them away. He first nutmegged Brownlee before hitting a shot that Sheppard looked very thankful that it dropped just wide of his right hand post.

Next Moylan ghosted by two Dundalk players before drilling a shot just inches over the bar.

Pat Hoban was very isolated up front on his own and Dundalk didn’t do enough to get Daryl Horgan on the ball. When the duo did link up in first half injury time, the Lilywhites came as close as they would all night to an equaliser.

A Hoban flick on found Horgan who fed Paul Doyle. His shot went close, just flying by the frame of the Shelbourne goal.

The Lilywhites did up their game in the second half with Stephen O’Donnell bringing on fresh legs as soon as the 53rd minute with the introduction of Hayden Muller and Connor Malley. While Dundalk upped the tempo and the percentage of the ball they had they failed to test Conor O’Malley at all.

Shelbourne were happy enough to sit off and look to hit the Lilywhites on the break through Wood and Moylan. The latter went close five minutes from time but his swerving effort had too much curl to really trouble Sheppard.

A medical issue in the crowd delayed the game late on and there were nine minutes of injury time but a late Dundalk corner was as close as they came to taking a point from the game.

The result leaves Shelbourne three points off third placed St. Patrick’s Athletic who have a game in hand but fourth place might be good enough for a Shels European campaign depending on the outcome of the FAI Cup final to come in November.

Shelbourne: Conor Kearns; Shane Griffin, Gavin Molloy, Patrick Barrett, Tyreke Wilson, William Jarvis (Brian McManus 78 [Kameron Ledwidge 84]),; Mark Coyle; Evan Caffrey (Shane Farrell 69), Jonathan Lunney; Jack Moylan, Harry Wood.
Subs not used: Luke Byrne, Euclides Cabral, Gbemi Arubi, Harry Fisk.
Booked: Harry Wood (37), Shane Farrell (75), Kameron Ledwidge 90+8)

Dundalk: Nathan Shepperd; Archie Davies, Gregory Sloggett, Darren Brownlie, Robert Benson (Cameron Elliott 71); Paul Doyle (Hayden Muller 53), Johannes Yli-Kokko (John Martin 62); Daniel Kelly (Ryan O'Kane 71), Daryl Horgan, Samuel Durrant (Connor Malley 53); Patrick Hoban.
Subs not used: Peter Cherrie, Andrew Boyle, Darragh Leahy, Keith Ward.
Booked: Daniel Kelly (27), Daryl Horgan (45), Darren Brownlie (70), Stephen O'Donnell (76), John Martin (81), Conor Malley (90+6).

Referee: Eoghan O’Shea
Attendance: 2,500 (estimate)
extratime.com Player of the Match: Jack Moylan (Shelbourne)