James English capped off an impressive debut with a well-taken header as Shelbourne overcame Cabinteely by one goal to nil at Stradbrook Park.
English, a recent recruit from Darndale FC whom he helped to the AUL Premier C title with a tally of 45 goals, rose well to head home Gareth Coughlan's inch-perfect cross early in the second half to ensure Shels move level with third-placed UCD.
Cabinteely boss Eddie Gormley made two changes from the side that lost narrowly at Finn Park last week; Michael Brown and Conor Foley replaced Stephen Hanley, who dropped to the bench, and Ger Pender, who signed for Drogheda United during the week.
Shelbourne manager Kevin Doherty meanwhile made three changes to the side that triumphed over Finn Harps two weeks ago. Mark Sandford and Craig Walsh were suspended, meaning returns for captain Daire Doyle and Coughlan, and a first start for English.
The game started at a snail's pace, and almost 20 minutes had elapsed before the first shot was registered in anger. Shels winger Dylan McGlade cut in from the left and opened a window of space for a shot, but the former Middlesbrough trainee sliced the ball well wide.
Cabinteely captain John McKeown went closer moments later as he struck a firm, swerving drive from 25 yards that forced a good save from Greg Murray, who had the presence of mind to push the ball well away from goal as Conor Foley awaited the rebound.
English was impressing in his first appearance in senior football, causing Josh Quinlivan problems with his quick feet and movement. He should have broken the deadlock ater 24 minutes when he maneouvred himself free header from six yards, but he glanced the ball wide.
The Shels striker was on the end of everything positive the visitors attempted. However he should have done better when Jake Donnelly lofted an inch-perfect ball over the top, but he was hesitant to take it first time and the chance was gone.
He appeared to be bundled over by Quinlivan in the resulting melée, and the striker was lucky that referee Paula Brady didn't give a penalty and what would certainly have been a straight red card.
The Reds were dominating possession but Cabo were creating the better chances. Sodiq Oguntola forced another good save from Murray when he got his head to Michael Brown's corner, while strike partner Foley should have done better just before half-time when Darren Clarke found him with a sweetly-struck wedge.
English went close early in the second half when he attacked Donnelly's deep free kick, but he did finally get the goal his all-round play warranted when Coughlan – who switched with McGlade to the left wing at half time – picked him out with the visitors' first quality ball of the game.
The match largely petered out from that point, with two scuffed shots from Philly Hughes the best of the efforts, before Clarke really should have levelled matters when he found himself on the end of Quinlivan's cross but he couldn't find the target.
Coughlan thought he'd made the points safe when he beat Evan Whelan with a rasping 25-yard drive, but the ball swerved inches wide of the post.
There were nervy moments for Doherty's side as substitute Edward McDonagh, son of former Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers legend Jacko, twice headed just over from set pieces, but Shels held out for three points that keeps them in contention for the end-of-season promotion play-off.
Cabinteely: Evan Whelan; Jamie McGlynn (Jamie Broderick 12), Victor Ekanem, Josh Quinlivan, Daniel Campbell (Edward McDonagh 61); Darren Clarke, Aaron Brilly, John McKeown, Michael Brown; Conor Foley (Stephen Hanley 50), Sodiq Oguntula.
Subs not used: Sean Hyland (gk), Ross Broderick, Stephen Dunne, Karl Byrne.
Booked: Oguntola (40), Campbell (54).
Shelbourne: Greg Murray; Evan Osam, Sean Heaney, Ryan Robinson, Adam O'Connor; Gareth Coughlan, Daire Doyle, Jake Donnelly, Dylan McGlade; Philip Hughes, James English.
Subs not used: David Ryan (gk), Paul Andrews, Alan Kehoe, Darragh Ganon, Carl Walsh, Aaron Robinson, Conor Keeley.
Referee: Paula Brady.
Attendance: 700 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: James English (Shelbourne).