Promotion/Relegation Play-Off Report: Shelbourne 0 - 1 Longford TownSun, Nov 15 2020
Andrew Dempsey reports from Richmond Park
Longford Town have been promoted to the Premier Division after seeing off Shelbourne by a goal to nil at Richmond Park in the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off Final.
Rob Manley’s 11th goal of the season saw Town past a Shelbourne side who had to play over an hour of the game with just ten-men.
Manley struck in the 54th minute of the game after latching onto a lay-off from ex-Shelbourne midfielder Dylan Grimes.
However, Longford had to withstand a barrage of late pressure from the Reds – but it was all in vain as Ian Morris’ side slipped back into the second-tier.
Unlike their opponents Shelbourne, Longford Town came into the Richmond Park clash in a rich vein of form, securing two play-off wins on the spin.
Town boss Daire Doyle made no changes from the Red and Black’s win over Galway United last week.
Shels – on the other hand – came into the game after slipping into the play-off position following two defeats on the spin.
From their defeat against Shamrock Rovers – the game that ultimately saw the Reds slip into the play-offs – Ian Morris made two changes.
Luke Byrne returned from suspension as Gary Deegan missed out for the same reason, with full-back Aiden Friel replacing him.
Despite a lively start, neither side were able to assert themselves on the game – but it was to roar into life in the 25th minute.
Luke Byrne – who was booked just minutes earlier – was adjudged to have fouled Longford forward Rob Manley as he burst through on goal.
With the ex-Cabinteely forward setting himself up to shoot, he was taken down by Byrne – leaving referee Neil Doyle with an easy decision to make.
However, Town were not able to make the most of their chance – with Manley blazing over the bar – letting Shels off with a major chance.
Having gone a man behind, Shelbourne grew into the game – proving to be a real threat from set-pieces.
Longford full-back Shane Elworthy was forced into making a headed clearance to deny the lurking Karl Sheppard at the back-post.
But despite much of the endeavor on display from both sides they went in level at the break at a rainswept Inchicore venue.
Just nine minutes into the second-half, Manley made amends for his miss from the spot – slotting home past Jack Brady.
The former UCD man was fed in by a pass from the lively Grimes to shoot past the Reds keeper to give the First Division side the lead.
But after going ahead, Longford had to withstand a barrage of Shelbourne attacks, none more so than Ryan Brennan’s low effort on goal in the 89th minute. But that was saved by Steacy in the Town goal.
That was not Shels’ only effort in a frenetic final twenty minutes of the game – they went close before with Brennan troubling the Longford goal with an acrobatic shot – but he could only shoot over the bar.
And Longford were not to be denied as they held firm to clinch a top-flight return, while Shelbourne have been consigned to another spell in the First Division.
Shelbourne: Jack Brady; Oscar Brennan, Luke Byrne, Aidan Friel, Alex O'Hanlon; Mark Byrne (Brian McManus 58), Shane Farrell (Daniel Byrne 28), Sean Quinn; Ciarán Kilduff (Jaze Kabia 65), Dayle Rooney (Ryan Brennan 58), Karl Sheppard (Aaron Dobbs 58).
Subs not used: Alex Cetiner, Colin McCabe.
Booked: Luke Byrne (23), Luke Byrne (26).
Sent off: Luke Byrne (26).
Longford Town: Lee Steacy; Joe Gorman, Joseph Manley, Michael McDonnell; Karl Chambers (Dean Byrne 69), Aodh Dervin, Shane Elworthy, Dylan Grimes, Aaron McNally, Dean Zambra; Rob Manley (Callum Warfield 90).
Subs not used: Niall Barnes, Luke Dennison, Dylan Hand, Aaron McCabe, Matthew O'Brien.
Booked: Aodh Dervin (3).
Referee: Neil Doyle.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Joe Gorman (Longford Town).