The PA greeted the half-time whistle with Madness’ One Step Beyond but, if it was a hint, it went unheeded as a dismal performance from the hosts Shelbourne saw Waterford run out 1-0 winners at Tolka Park.
John Martin’s simple finish after 15 minutes proved the difference as former Irish international John Sheridan began his reign with a fully-merited win saw them move up to fourth in the table.
The midfielder fired home a loose ball that proved the only goal of an uninspired return to action for both sides, with a new-look Blues side winning by virtue of dogged determination and organisation.
Waterford, set up in a defensive 4-5-1 formation, exploited the space created by the home side’s narrow 4-4-2 and almost had joy within four minutes from a wide position.
A run infield from Ali Coote allowed the Scot to tee up Matthew Smith wide on the left and he crossed low for Martin, but the midfielder couldn’t make a proper contact with the ball.
John Sheridan’s side lined up with Kurtis Byrne, whose signing from TNS was announced on Friday night, alone up front and he appeared by the large gap between himself and the midfield.
His ire turned to joy on the 15th minute mark as Tyriek Wilson’s deep cross was nodded back towards goal by Oluwatunmise Sobowale, making his second debut for his local club.
Byrne thought he’d provided the telling touch but it was palmed away by Colin McCabe, but only as far as the waiting Martin, who swept the ball into the empty net.
With the lead in their pocket, Waterford were content to sit back and frustrate Shelbourne, who created nothing of note in the first half despite plenty of possession.
Shane Griffin was lucky only to be shown a yellow card for a reckless lunge that left Lorcan Fitzgerald writhing on the ground, with the possible mitigation that both players were at it.
Smith saw his daisy-cutter roll harmlessly wide at the near post two minutes before the break as the visitors continued to look the more dangerous in possession.
Shels boss Ian Morris took remedial action at half time, introducing Ryan Brennan for youngster Alex Cetiner and switching to a more balance 4-2-3-1 formation with Aaron Dobbs at the tip.
They registered their first shot on target seven minutes into the half as Brian McManus, debuting following his arrival from Preston North End, shot tamely at Brian Murphy from 25 yards.
It wasn’t much, but it was a shot, and the Reds appeared belatedly struck into action and very nearly grabbed an equaliser two minutes later.
Sam Bone put his body on the line to block Karl Sheppard’s shot from point blank range after a wonderful run on the endline from Dobbs looked to have yielded maximum harvest.
Luke Byrne shot over the bar from the resulting corner but Shels’ rally was brief and, slowly, the pattern of the first half re-emerged.
Griffin shot narrowly wide of the near post before good interplay in the box between Smith and substitute Will Longbottom ended with the former unable to generate much power in his shot.
Morris introduced Ciaran Kilduff and Alex O’Hanlon for the final 15 minutes as the home side sought to rescue a point.
Waterford, however, were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure and their goal remained untroubled as the John Sheridan era began where Alan Reynolds’ left off – with a win.
Shelbourne:Colin McCabe; Aidan Friel, Dan Byrne, Luke Byrne, Lorcan Fitzgerald (Alex O’Hanlon 76); Jaze Kabia, Gary Deegan, Brian McManus (Sean Quinn 70), Alex Cetiner (Ryan Brennan 46); Karl Sheppard (Dayle Rooney 70), Aaron Dobbs (Ciaran Kilduff 76).
Subs not used:Jack Brady (gk), Daniel O’Reilly,.
Booked:Brian McManus (40).
Waterford:Brian Murphy; Oluwatunwise Sobowale (Darragh Power 90+7), Sam Bone, Robbie McCourt, Tyreke Wilson; Ali Coote, Robbie Weir, John Martin (Will Longbottom 59), Shane Griffin, Matthew Smith; Kurtis Byrne (Alex Phelan 85).
Subs not used:Tadhg Ryan (gk); Darragh Power, Niall O’Keeffe, Will Fitzgerald.
Booked:Shane Griffin (36), Brian Murphy (90+6).
Extratime.com Player of the Match:Shane Griffin (Waterford).