League Report: Shelbourne 1 - 0 Dundalk

Patrick O Connor reports from Tolka Park

Shelbourne scraped a narrow one nil win over basement side Dundalk in a game that never rose about the mediocre at Tolka Park on Friday night.

There have been some great games at the Richmond Road venue this season but this certainly was not one of them with the first half being very uneventful and the second half only marginally better.

Shelbourne had 61 % of the possession throughout the game but they lacked the creativity to break down a resilient Dundalk side before finally doing so once midway through the second period.

Jon Daly’s side set up with Jamie Gullan as a lone striker up front and everybody else behind the half way line, but when the Scottish striker went off injured in the 26th minute, the chances of his side creating an upset as Sligo Rovers had done a week earlier were greatly diminished.

The Reds were totally dominant in the opening phases of the game but they found the resolute Dundalk defence and stand in keeper Sean Molloy (he was a last-minute call up for Ross Munro who was injured during the warm up) in no mood to concede anything.

The best chance for the home side came in the 35th minute but they failed to take advantage of it. John Martin took the ball outside the box and swivelled well to drive at the Dundalk defence and he then slipped a pass to the overlapping Matty Smith but the latter’s shot was wide when he should at least have hit the target.

Evan Caffrey also worked tirelessly to create opportunities but despite having a few half chances he or any of his team mates failed to find the net  and it was scoreless at half time.

The entertainment levels improved somewhat in the second half, with substitutes Liam Burt for Shels and Eoin Kenny for the Lilywhites both adding a lot of momentum at opposite ends of the pitch.

The breakthrough finally came in the 71st minute when the home side scored the decisive goal. Left winger Will Jarvis, who was well contained all night by the Lilywhites right back Archie Davis, for once was able to skip past his marker along the end line and his low cross was met by the inrushing Martin who fired the ball past Molloy.

Ryan O’ Kane was Dundalk’s main threat all evening but when he ran out of steam and was substituted in the 75th minute it looked increasingly unlikely that the visitors would claw back the deficit.

They certainly made a valiant attempt with Daryl Horgan and Kenny both having half chances as the game drew to a close but in the end, Shelbourne did what they have been doing since the start of the season, getting a result no matter the circumstances!!

Shelbourne now remain on top, two points and a game in hand over second placed Derry City, while Dundalk drop back into last place on the table, below neighbours Drogheda Utd on goal difference.


Shelbourne: Conor Kearns; Patrick Barrett, Sean Gannon, Gavin Molloy, Tyreke Wilson; Evan Caffrey (Dean Williams 65), Mark Coyle (John O'Sullivan 65), Jonathan Lunney; William Jarvis (Kameron Ledwidge, 81), John Martin (Shane Farrell 84), Matthew Smith (Liam Burt 46).

Subs not used: Lorcan Healy, Shane Griffin, Keith Ward, Jad Hakiki.

Booked: Dean Williams (76), John O'Sullivan (76), John Martin (79), Tyreke Wilson (93).

Dundalk: Sean Molloy; Mayowa Animasahun (Robert Benson 46), Andrew Boyle, Zak Johnson; Archie Davies, Paul Doyle, Daryl Horgan, John Mountney, Hayden Muller (Eoin Kenny 63), Ryan O'Kane (Samuel Durrant 75); Jamie Gullan (Cameron Elliott 26).

Subs not used: Peter Cherrie, Jamie Walker, Luke Mulligan, Sean Keogh.

Booked: Andrew Boyle (92).


Referee: Damian McGraith.

Attendance: 3,850

extratime.com Player of the Match: Evan Caffrey (Shelbourne).