Patrick O Connor reports from Tolka Park
Cabinteely can consider themselves extremely unlucky to have left Tolka Park empty handed on Friday night as they put in an inspired performance against the league leaders Shelbourne before conceding an own goal in the 90th minute.
The South Dublin side came into this match with a poor set of results in their previous two games but they certainly reserved their best performance for some time for this clash with the Shels and will consider it rough justice not to have taken at least one point away from the match.
Shelbourne on the other hand did dominate possession for long periods of the game but they found it difficult to deal with Cabinteely’s 4-5-1 formation and indeed were lucky not to concede a goal on more than one occasion when their opponents launched one of their many quick counter attacks.
The game was very even for the opening quarter of an hour with neither side able to test the opposition keeper.
Pat Devlin left Sean McDonald as the lone striker up front and their midfielders more than matched Shelbourne’s more experienced players in this sector, and even had Vilius Labutis booked for an overly aggressive tackle as early as the sixth minute.
Shels did go on to dominate most of the rest of the first half and their best chance of a goal from the Dayle Rooney a d Kevin O’Connor axis on their left flank.
In the 34th minute Rooney went on a mazy run before playing a great through ball to the overlapping Kevin O’Connor who dragged his shot wide of the post without testing Cabo ‘keeper Harry Halwax.
The same duo combined well again in a similar move a few minutes later; this time Kevin O’Connor elected to pull the ball back from the end line but there was nobody there to take advantage of it and the ball was cleared.
During the opening half, Cabinteely made some really quick breaks out of defence. The usual pattern involved playing the ball to feet of lone striker McDonald and he bringing other breaking midfielders into the attacking moves.
They tested the home defence using this ploy on more than one occasion and McDonald was excellent during these counter attacks and got good support from the likes of Labutis, Eoin McPhillips and Zak O’Neill.
It was scoreless at the break and Ian Morris’ team took up where they left off in the second half, Rooney himself trying a curling shot from outside the box in the 49th minute that just skimmed the crossbar.
Cabo continued to rely on counter attacks and they stretched the home defence on numerous occasions in the second half. Their best move of the match ended with the lively O’Neill drawing a good save from Shels keeper Brendan Clarke in the 78th minute.
It looked like being a scoreless draw right up to the end of normal time, but just as referee Oliver Moran indicated four minutes of injury time, the home team won a free kick about 30m from goal.
Free kick specialist Kevin O’Connor swung in a great ball that looked initially like it went all the way to the net, however it took a deflection off the head of substitute Alex Aspil to go down as an own goal.
The late victory maintains Shelbourne’s unbeaten run and their 11-point advantage at the top of the table with their nearest rivals Treaty United and Galway United also winning on Friday night, while Cabinteely drop one place to seventh in the table still on 18 points.
Shelbourne: Brendan Clarke; Kevin O’Connor, Ally Gilchrist, Luke Byrne, John Ross Wilson, Georgie Poynton, Dayle Rooney (Glen McCauley 75), JJ Lunney, Shane Farrell, Michael O’Connor (Brian McManus 88), Ryan Brennan.
Subs not used: Jack Brady (gk); Maxie Kouogun, Alex Ceitner, Michael Barker, Kyle O’Connor, Alex Nolan, Stephen Negru.
Booked: Michael O’Connor (22), JJ Lunney (85).
Cabinteely: Harry Halwax; Daniel Blackbyrne, Kevin Knight, Luke McWilliams, Jack Hudson, Vilius Labutis (Alex Aspil 66), Eoin Massey, Eoin McPhillips (Ben Hanrahan 80), Sean McDonald, Zak O'Neill (Ben Feeney 91) Kieran Marty Waters (Jem Campion 91).
Subs not used: Mitchell Byrne, Luke Clucas, Conor Knight, Lee McEvoy, Kajus Aksamitas.
Booked: Vilius Labutis (6).
Referee: Oliver Moran
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Sean McDonald (Cabinteely)