Dylan O’Connell reports from Turners Cross
Shelbourne returned to the top tier of Irish football in spectacular fashion on Friday night with a dramatic late win over Cork City at Turners Cross.
With five minutes remaining, former Cork City striker Ciaran Kilduff rose highest to head in cleanly past Liam Bossin in the City goal to secure the three points for Ian Morris’ side.
In a ground which all but confirmed their relegation to the First Division seven years ago, a colourful and vocal travelling support where ecstatic when the saw the Shed End net bulge.
This followed a cagey ninety minutes between both teams. While Shels were playing with a combination of nervousness and excitement from a newly promoted side, City’s play was careful and considerate.
On a night when Neale Fenn fielded eight debutants, it took a while for the home side to establish their rhythm.
Slowly they did cause problems for Shels through wingers Dylan McGlade – a recent recruit from Blyth Spartans – and Daire O’Connor.
Slowly both sides team’s began creating chances. A free kick won by O’Connor was nearly turned in by Ronan Hurley, before Kilduff had a one on one narrowly palmed away by Bossin.
The goal arrived with five minutes remaining, when the former Dundalk and Cork City striker, coolly headed in under no real pressure.
The Rebel Army tried to pick themselves up in extra time, by pouring the midfield into attack but a well congested and organised Shels defence swatted away anything City could throw at them.
And the Reds held firm to secure an opening night win, earning their first top flight win at Turners Cross since August 2004.
Cork City: Liam Bossin, Kyron Stabana, Joseph Olowu, Joe Redmond, Ronan Hurley, Henry Ochieng (Alec Byrne, 87), Gearóid Morrissey, Cian Coleman, Daire O’Connor, Reyon Dillon (Beneoín O’Brien-Whitmarsh, 70), Dylan McGlade (Deshane Dalling, 60).
Subs not used: Mark McNulty, Charlie Fleming, Rob Slevin, Corey Galvin.
Booked: Cian Coleman (43), Ronan Hurley (90).
Shelbourne: Jack Brady, Aidan Friel, Daniel O’Reilly, Luke Byrne, Alex O’Hanlon, Gary Deegan, Sean Quinn, Dayle Rooney (Jaze Kabia, 80); Karl Sheppard, Ciarán Kilduff, Ryan Brennan (Shane Farrell, 56).
Subs not used: Colin McCabe, Oscar Brennan, Georgie Poynton, Aaron Dobbs, Lorcan Fitzgerald.
Booked: Ciaran Kilduff (25), Ryan Brennan (35).
Referee: Adriano Reale (Kildare).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ciarán Kilduff (Shelbourne).