John Manning reports from Tolka Park
Ten-man Shelbourne moved up into sixth place in the Premier Division table with an impressive 1-0 victory over Sligo Rovers at Tolka Park.
A precise first-half finish from inspirational captain Gary Deegan earned Ian Morris’ side their second win in a row despite losing Luke Byrne to a red card 20 minutes from time.
Sligo may have had an extra man advantage for almost half an hour but their dismal away form continues.
Liam Buckley’s men have registered just a single league victory away from the Showgrounds all season and they have found the net on just two occasions.
By contrast, Morris will be delighted with the performance, which sees his charges overtake today’s opponents on goal difference courtesy of their second home win of the campaign.
Morris was booked by referee Ray Matthews late on but that will be forgotten as Shels survived a late penalty shout to claim a deserved victory.
On a fine Dublin 3 afternoon, perfect for football, the home side jumped into lead with a superb 20th minute strike.
Ciaran Kilduff’s right-wing cross was swept powerfully home from ten yards by Deegan after Dayle Rooney had dummied brilliantly to set up his skipper!
Shels might have doubled their advantage just after the half-hour. A precision through ball sent Denzil Fernandes careering down the centre.
He slightly mis-controlled the ball which allowed Edward McGinty to advance and smother.
From a Sligo left wing free-kick, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe flashed a header just past the post in the 27th minute.
Five minutes before half time, Jesse Devers’ run down the Sligo right led to a fine cross, which Rónán Coughlan flicked just over the top of the Drumcondra End crossbar.
Within a minute of the resumption, Ryan De Vries flashed in a shot from the edge of the Shels box but his effort was blocked for a corner.
As Sligo dominated the opening exchanges of second period, Ronan Coughlan was just wide with a cross-shot just four minutes later.
The home side were rocked by a 69th minute red card for defender Luke Byrne, who was judged to have recklessly fouled Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and was shown a straight red.
Coughlan wasted the resulting free kick and Shels almost scored on the break with the experienced Ryan Brennan pulling the strings.
Shels immediately introduced Daniel Byrne for Denzil Fernandes and comfortably saw the game out despite some Sligo half chances.
Substitute Alex Cooper smashed another free kick well over the bar and Devers shot over following an Alex Cooper corner on the right.
The ball broke from Jack Brady following a Bit O’Red right wing cross and Cooper rifled a shot just wide.
Sligo failed to make the breakthrough, however, and any hope they could qualify for Europe via the league are now all but over.
Shelbourne: Jack Brady; Luke Byrne, Alex O’Hanlon, Georgie Poynton (Daniel O’Reilly 19); Gary Deegan, Mark Byrne, Ryan Brennan (Sean Quinn 85), Denzil Fernandez (Daniel Byrne 72); Ciaran Kilduff (Aaron Dobbs 8), Dayle Rooney.
Subs not used: Colin McCabe (gk), Shane Farrell, Jaze Kabia.
Booked: Ryan Brennan (23), Mark Byrne (27).
Sent off: Luke Byrne (69).
Sligo Rovers: Edward McGinty; Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Sighas Olkerkis (Alex Cooper 60), Teemu Panninkangas; Jesse Devers (Mark Byrne 78), David Cawley, Niall Morahan (Will Seymore 78), Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Ryan De Vries (Darragh Noone 60); Ronan Coughlan.
Subs not used: Luke McNicholas (gk), Scott Lynch, Garry Buckley.
Booked: Ryan De Vries (25), Alex Cooper (78), John Mahon (90+5).
Referee: Raymond Matthews.
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Gary Deegan (Shelbourne).