Shelbourne win to keep pressure on UCD

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Shelbourne fans in Tolka Park

Shelbourne came away from Tolka Park with a deserved three points against an ill-disciplined Waterford United. At this stage of the season and with a dog fight on their hands with UCD for the final play off spot, Kevin Doherty’s squad knew that they couldn’t let any precious points slip through the cracks.

The home side dominated the first half and could have gone ahead early in the game. Defender Sean Heaney picked up a loose ball in the box. His effort went across the face of goal but ultimately went wide.

Shelbourne continued to press ahead with Dylan McGlade in particular, giving the Waterford defence headaches as he dashed down the right wing. He also created a few good chances in the process for his side with splendid crosses into the box. Unfortunately, the end product by the targeted players were not good enough and they did little to trouble the keeper.

The deadlock was broken midway through the half. Defender Adam O’Connor played a beautiful low cross from the right side of the area. The ball was met by James English, who clipped the ball with the inside of his right foot. The effort was enough to creep by Waterford keeper, Robert Birdsall.

Waterford’s night didn’t get any better as defender Dean Reidy had to be replaced after half an hour by Robbie Buckley with what looked like a leg injury. the away side pushed ahead late into the half and Anthony McAlavey gave Shels a scare before the break. The striker managed to round Greg Murray but he went too far and was left with a near impossible shot from an angle, which went wide.

The visitors could have easily gone down to 10 men late in the first half as Colum Nugent went in hard and late on Shels goalscorer, James English. The defender can count him lucky that he wasn’t taking an early bath.

Shelbourne started the second half like they had left the first, pressing on the visitors and pushing forward. Their pressure paid off as English nabbed his second goal of the game after only only one minute of play in the second half. Gareth Coughlan played a lovely short pass to the striker, who hit it hard and low from right to left. The ball beat an outstretching Birdsall, who could have done better to keep his side in the game.

Waterford then attempted to get into the game once more and again went close. The best chance for the visitors came mid way throughout the half, Corey Galvin with the ball and like a bolt of lightening, made his way down the pitch. He picked out Aaron O’Connor with a lovely pass but the target man could only shoot straight at shot stopper Murray.

The game was all but over with less then 10 minutes to go. Nugent, who was lucky not to be sent off in the first half, went in late with two feet on Sean Heaney. The Waterford man was shown a straight red. Heaney was very lucky to walk away from the tackle as it looked much worse.

The visitors were immediately punished by the hosts. Substitute, Conor Earley, made he was into the box but picked out an unmarked Carl Walshe on the edge of the area. The striker moved into the area and dummied the defence. He then took a crack at goal. His effort was low and went across the area. Again, Birdsall was caught out and ball creeped by him to make it 3-0.

The victory leaves Shelbourne in fourth place but only one point behind third place UCD, who lost to Finn Harps. Manager, Kevin Doherty will be hoping his side can keep up a similar performance in their last two games of the season, against Wexford Youths and Cobh Ramblers, and push for a play off place and try and secure a return to the top division.

Waterford United drop to the bottom of the league as Cabinteely move ahead after a victory against Cobh Ramblers. Manager Roddy Collins will be disappointed with the overall performance of his side but he knows this team is a work in progress. Arguably, Waterford’s goal now is to get off the bottom of the league and look toward the work that needs to be done ahead of next season.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, O’Connor, Osam, Robinson, Heaney (Donnelly 85′), Doyle (C) (Andrews 85′), Coughlan (Earley 71′), Crowe, Walshe, English, McGlade

Substitutes: Brady, Dixon, Sandford, O’Sullivan
Goals: English (27′, 46′), Walshe (85′)
Yellow Cards: Robinson (40′)

Waterford United: Birdsall, Corcoran, Reidy (Buckley 32′), Nugent, Mackey, Boyle (C), E.Galvin (Nolan ’85), O’Connor, Prendergast (Walsh 56′), McAlavey, C.Galvin

Substitutes: Connor
Yellow Cards: Nugent (44′)
Red Cards: Nugent (83′)

Referee: Robert Hennessey

Attendance: 513

Ireland overcome tricky Georgia

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Republic of Ireland team celebrate

Republic of Ireland manager, Martin O’Neill, admitted that his side will need to find a win in their next two matches, against Germany and Poland respectively, to secure at least a playoff spot for next summers European Championship finals in France despite earning three points over Georgia in Dublin on Monday night.

The pace in the first half suggested this game was a friendly rather than an important European Championship qualifier. Both sides had chances but didn’t seem to have that killer instinct in front of goal. Ireland had the first real effort on goal early in the game. Wes Hoolahan worked his way into the box and played a lovely one-two with Jon Walters in the box before delivering a cross that was met by the foot of a diving Robbie Keane. The captain couldn’t connect with the ball correctly and his effort sailed over the crossbar, not troubling Georgia’s keeper, Nukri Revishvili.

Georgia fired back though and striker, Levan Mchedlidze had a couple efforts on goal but they were cleared with ease by the Irish defence. The visitors did have a few more efforts at Irish defence though. Their best effort came midway through the first half. Giorgi Navalovsky whipped in a cross that was met by Tornike Okriashvili, who attempted an audacious bicycle kick. His effort though didn’t connect and the ball dribbled wide.

It was deep into the first half that Ireland had their best effort of the game. After some back and forth in the Georgian box. The ball landed to Seamus Coleman. The Everton defender hit a half volley. His strike had some power behind it and it troubled Revishvili who could only punch the ball away.

The home side made the only change at half time. O’Neill decided to withdraw Keane and replace him with Shane Long up front. Jon Walters seemed to shift into a right side of midfield. The game did pick up in pace and the Irish were on top of the game and put pressure on the visitors from the whistle.

The Irish had numerous efforts on goal but they couldn’t get the power behind the shots. Coleman again had another effort to get on the score sheet. After working well to force his way into the Georgian area, the right back took a shot on goal. His effort was too soft though and was easily collected by Georgia’s keeper.

James McCarthy also failed to capitalise with his efforts on goal. The midfielder had a couple of chances on the edge of the box but he fluffed both efforts and they flew past the goal. McCarthy did not disguise his disgust at both efforts and he knows that he should have done better.

Then came the moment that defined the game. Jeff Hendrick starting from the left side of the pitch moved in and around the Georgian defence, something that resembled to Lionel Messi. He then reached the goal line and cut a short pass to Jon Walters. His effort seemed to deflect off a Georgian defender and rolled into the back of the net. You could see what the goal meant to the Stoke striker. He dashed towards the Irish fans to celebrate what is an important goal in Group D.

Georgia were forced to play the last 10 minutes with 10 men as they lost striker Mchedlidze to what seemed like a hamstring injury. The visitors still pressed for an equaliser late on but could not avail. Loud cheers from the stands greeted the final whistle. This result was another twist in the tale that has been the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Speaking after the game, O’Neill expressed his delight at coming away with three points from what was a tricky game. “We found a way to win in the second half. I thought we were very tentative in the first half. I’m not sure why we should be, having won on Friday. I thought we lacked energy in the first half and consequently created very little and that was a bit of a worry. The players came out strongly in the second half and we deserved to get the goal and we deserved to win the game,” said the Irish manager.

With world champions, Germany set to visit Dublin next month and a visit to Poland not long after, there is set to be more drama in what has turned out to be an interesting qualifying campaign. As O’Neill mentioned, a win in the final two games would all but secure at least a play off position for the Boys in Green, something one would not have expected after the fixture against Scotland in Dublin earlier this summer. However, that will not be an easy task against the two top teams in this group.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Given, Coleman, O’Shea, Clark,Brady, Whelan, McCarthy, Hoolahan (McClean 74′), Hendrick, Keane (C) (Long 45′), Walters

Substitutes: Forde, Randolph,Wilson, McGeady, Meyler, Doyle, Christie, Ward, Quinn, Keogh

Goal: Walters (69′)

Yellow Cards: Whelan (74′), McClean (76′)

GEORGIA: Revishvili, Lobzhanidze, Kverkvelia, Kashia (Tsintsadze 75′), Amisulashvili, Khizanishvili (Kenia 80′), Kankava (C), Kazaishvili (Papunashvili 64′), Okriashvili, Navalovsky, Mchedlidze

Substitutes: Loria, Makaridze, Kakabadze, Popkhadze, Merebashvili, Tskhadadze, Vatsadze, Daushvili

Referee: István Vad (Hungary)