Elliot Injury Sours O’Neill’s Night

Republic of Ireland Team
Standard

The Republic of Ireland shared the spoils with their Slovakian visitors on a night that was overshadowed by what looks like a season-ending injury to Newcastle Untied goalkeeper Rob Elliot and denting his chances of a place in the Irish squad heading to France this summer. The Slovakians kept the hosts busy throughout the game. However, star player Marek Hamšík had a quiet night in Dublin in front of a quiet Aviva Stadium, which included Wales (Slovakia’s Euro 2016 Group B opponents) manager, Chris Coleman among those in attendance.

It was an entertaining first half for the 30,00o plus who travelled to the Aviva Stadium with four goals in the first 45 minutes. It was the Slovakians who went ahead thanks to an error from Paul McShane, the first of many on a bad night for the Reading defender. His mistimed header on the half way line landed at the feet of Erik Sabo, who launched down the right wing and worked his way into the box. His pass made it to Miroslav Stoch, who was unmarked and with a first touch slotted it past Rob Elliot. The Newcastle ‘keeper looked to have landed awkwardly when coming down from the attempted save.

Commenting on the injury after the match, O’Neill said that the early prognosis was knee ligament damage and that it was a huge blow to the player after rebuilding his career and confidence. He wouldn’t be drawn on speculation that the injury will bring an early end to Elliot’s season.

Two penalties in the space of two minutes, helped bring the Irish back into the game. Firstly, goalkeeper, Matus Kozáčik brought Shane Long down near the touchline with the keeper softly catching the striker on the foot. Long slotted home the penalty without haste. Not much time passed before Long burst into the area again, only for captain Martin Škrtel to bring down the Southampton striker in the area. Arguably, another soft penalty given by the referee. This time it was James McClean, who stood up and scored to put The Boys in Green in the lead.

The game started to settle and there was pressure created from both sides. Sabo added to his assist with a yellow card after a pair of late challenges on James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan. The latter having to pull away the angered Everton midfielder from the Slovakian winger.

Then as half time approached, the visitors were allowed back into the game. Peter Pekarík broke into space on the edge of the right hand side of the box. He chipped the ball before it managed to cross the line to Robert Vittek who headed it down towards goal. The ball took a detour off McShane’s chest and slipped past substitute keeper, Darren Randolph. Speaking after the game, O’Neill felt that Vittek had used his fist to guide the ball.

The game fizzled out in the second half with the tempo of both sides dropping. With the substitution of Long at half time – this gave O’Neill the liberty to play around with the team in terms of shape and test out different players. While this game may not be remembered from a fan’s point of view, it will certainly help shape the formation of the 23 man squad that will represent the Republic of Ireland at the European Championships this summer.

REP. OF IRELAND: Elliot (Randolph 15′), McShane, O’Shea (C) (Pearce 45′), Whelan, McCarthy, Long (Brady 45′), McClean, Christie, Ward (Hayes 78′), Hoolahan (McGeady 72′), O’Kane (Pilkington 66′)

Substitutes: Forde, Coleman, Keogh, Meyler, Quinn, Clark, Gleeson, Duffy, Judge, Doherty
Goals: Long (21′), McClean (23′)
Yellow Cards: McClean (66′)

Slovakia: Kozáčik, Pekarík, Škrtel (C), Greguš (Hrošovský 74′), Šesták (Weiss 63′), Stoch (Mak 63′), Vittek (Nemec 63′), Sabo (Duda 63′), Saláta, Hamšík, Švento (Tesák 88′)

Substitutes: Mucha, Dúbravka, Ďurica, Tesák, Hubočan, Ďuriš
Goals:  Stoch (13′), McShane (OG 45′)
Yellow Cards: Sabo (31′), Pekarík (63′), Greguš (70′)

Referee: Ola Ober Nielsen (NOR)

Long the hero on famous night in Dublin

Standard

Republic of Ireland team celebrate

It was a historic night in Dublin, as the Republic of Ireland beat the odds to inflict a 1-0 defeat on World Champions, Germany in Group D of the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Substitute Shane Long scored a terrific goal that left the destiny of the Boys in Green in their own hands. A win or 2-2 or higher scoring draw against Poland on Sunday will see Martin O’Neill’s men qualify automatically to next summer’s finals in France.

The first half was all the visitors. Germany were pressing hard against the Irish defence and practically owned the ball for the first quarter of the game. Jérôme Boateng had an early effort to put the Germans a goal up within the first ten minutes. The Bayern Munich midfielder had plenty of time to get his head on the ball from a corner. Fortunately, his effort sailed over the crossbar. An early escape for Ireland.

The Boys in Green got another lucky escape in the 19th minute. Thomas Müller was given a lot of time with the ball on the left hand side of the pitch. The striker picked out Arsenal man Mesut Özil who tipped the ball just right and it crept past Shay Given and into the back of the net. However, the Germans didn’t have time to celebrate as the assistant’s flag was raised for an offside. It was a terrific decision by the linesman as the midfielder drifted past the Irish defence’s high line.

The Irish failed to press forward except for the odd chance. One of the funnier moments of the half occurred when Wes Hoolahan picked up the ball at the halfway line but could not spot a green jersey to pass to. The Norwich winger did something one would do if playing FIFA on the Playstation…he ran around in a small circle until someone was available.

The Irish did have a few efforts on goal. The best of the (very small) bunch, began with a nice one-two between Hoolahan and Jon Walters. Walters then tried to slip the ball low and past Manuel Neuer but was undone by the German defence who blocked the effort.

There was also disappointed towards the end of the first half. After keeping the visitors at bay, keeper, Shay Given was forced off with what looked like a bad leg injury. The vetern was replaced by Darren Randolph between the Irish posts. The early diagnosis is a twisted knee but there is no update on his availability for Sunday as of writing.

The Irish team came out of the second half with an extra spring in their step. It was as if there was a belief on the field that they could shock their illustrious visitors. However, it was the Germans who had the first good crack at goal. Marco Reus swung in a lovely ball towards Andre Schürrle. The substitute cracked the ball but the effort just sailed over the crossbar.

The Irish then started to make themselves known in the game. They started to move the ball about and at times showed some quality play in an effort to keep possession. Wes Hoolahan and James McCarthy showed their worth with strong performances in the middle of the pitch. McCarthy kept the world champions at bay with some fine tackles, while Hoolahan helped to move the ball forward and create chances in and around the German area.

However, it was down to substitute Long who won the game for the Irish. Darren Randolph’s long ball down the middle of the field, was met by the Southampton striker who brought down the ball and knocked past the defence and blasted it past an oncoming Neuer and into the top left hand corner of the net. The crowd in the Aviva went mad. The reception to this goal was like that of Jason McAteer’s against Holland in 2001 at the old Lansdowne Road. The roar was deafening and the Irish fans were on their feet chanting for the rest of the game. Finally, the “best fans in the world” found their voice.

Speaking after the game, Irish manager Martin O’Neill was obviously delighted to win the game and wasn’t going to think about the Poland game until Friday morning. “I’m ecstatic that we have won the game. You would think that beating the Germans and not being beaten by them at all, taking on the World Champions, would be worth at least deserving to win the tournament but that is not the case,” joked the Irish manager.

With the win, Ireland have secured at least a play off place as they edge towards qualification to France. There will be a big belief in the Irish camp, that they can go to Warsaw and steal three points and an automatic qualifying place from hosts, Poland. In the meantime, they will be soaking up this big win in the Irish capital.

REP. OF IRELAND: Given (Randolph 43′), Christie, Keogh, O’Shea (C), Ward (Meyler 69′), Hendrick, McCarthy, Brady, Hoolahan, Walters, Murphy (Long 65′)

Substitutes: Forde, McShane, O’Kane, Pearce, McGoldrick, McGeady, Keane, Doyle, Gibson
Goals: Long (70′)
Yellow Cards: Hoolahan (89′)

GERMANY: Neuer (C), Ginter (Bellarabi 77′), Boateng, Hummels, Hector, Gündogan (Volland 84′), Kroos, Reus, Özil, Müller, Götze (Schürrle 35′)

Substitutes: Leno, ter Stegen, Mustafi, Rudy, Schweinsteiger, Can, Volland, Krammer, Kruse,
Yellow Cards: Hummels (85′)

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)

Attendance: 50,604

Shelbourne win to keep pressure on UCD

Standard

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

Scotland break Irish hearts in Dublin

Standard

Robbie Brady

The tame boos from the Irish fans were sounded out by the deafening cheers of the Scottish contingent at the final whistle at the Aviva Stadium as the visitors put a huge dent into Republic of Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for next summer’s European Championship in France. After dominating the first half, a lapse in concentration handed a priceless draw and point to Scotland in Group D.

The first half was fast paced with both teams starting brightly. The Irish were the first to have a crack at goal, after just two minutes, with Jeff Hendrick’s cross attempt collected by David Marshall.

The Scots followed two minutes later with their first effort. Stoke defender, Marc Wilson mistimed his pass to Jeff Hendrick and the ball was picked up by James Morrison. The Scottish midfielder worked his way up the pitch before passing to Steven Naismith. The Everton man’s attempt went across the box and ultimately wide.

The Scot’s best effort in the first half came from Steven Fletcher after just 10 minutes. The striker had the ball from about 20 yards out and hit it with some power that it forced Republic of Ireland keeper, Shay Given to stretch high and use the tips of his fingers to guide the ball over the crossbar.

Tempers flared at times. The game was hardly 10 minutes old, when James McCarthy went in hard on Scotland captain, Scott Brown. The latter was unimpressed by the younger midfielder’s antics and he wasn’t shy to express those feelings. Nonetheless, McCarthy escaped any punishment from the referee and was let off with a warning.

Glenn Whelan followed soon after. However, this time the yellow card was shown by the referee. The Stoke man caught Fletcher with a late standing tackle. McCarthy was again involved in a fracas and was punished accordingly, with a yellow card, after throwing an elbow into the face of Russell Martin. The Scottish defender was left with a cut on the bridge of his nose.

Then came the moment Irish fans were hoping for. After Marshall tipped over a Daryl Murphy header, Robbie Brady swung in the resulting corner. Again it met the head of Murphy. This time his effort landed straight at Marshall who could only parry the effort. The ball landed right at the feet of Jon Walters. The Irish forward only had to tap the ball into the net. He precisely did so and put the Boys in Green ahead just before the break.

The lead wasn’t to last long though. Scotland equalised just after the restart. Shaun Maloney played a lovely one-two with half time substitute Ikechi Anya in the box. Maloney then attempted to the curl the ball to the bottom left of the goal. The ball deflected off Irish captain John O’Shea and sailed past Given. The goal stunned the home fans as they had seen their team throw away a deserved lead.

The game then went full speed as both teams looked for the winner. The Scottish seemed to hold on the ball that bit better than the Irish. They constantly pushed forward at every opportunity that was afforded to them.

The Irish on the other hand, failed to use their opportunities. Robbie Brady, in particular, was poor with his crosses. The Hull City man hit some of them high and wide, especially at points in the game when the team needed balls delivered accurately into the box.

Ireland had a good opportunity on the 75th minute when substitute Robbie Keane got the ball and dummied the Scottish defence, leaving space open to fire a shot. He put a lot of power and accuracy behind the effort. Unfortunately, the ball went straight into the hands of Marshall.

Another Republic of Ireland substitute, James McClean also had a good chance to put the Irish ahead again, from a corner. The Derry man, worked to get the space and put himself high to meet Brady’s ball. However, while the effort connected, the ball went wide off the upright.

McClean was also part of one of the last significant incidents of the game. The Wigan Athletic midfielder, unimpressed with a decision given against his side, got into a war of words with Steven Naismith. It appeared as if McClean grazed his head against Naismith’s. The referee came over to separate the two and gave a yellow card to each player for their troubles.

Speaking after the game, Republic of Ireland manager, Martin O’Neill expressed his disappointed with conceding the equaliser to Scotland. However, he stressed that his side are still in with a chance of qualifying for next summer’s tournament in France.

“I thought we were very dominant in the first half. We deserved to be in front. We absolutely fell asleep for the [equalising] goal even though it was going miles wide. Just after half time, we should have closed it down on three different occasions. I thought Scotland got a big lift from that. I thought their best spell was after that, for 10 minutes. I thought we pulled ourselves round and I thought we were going to win it in the end. We didn’t and I am obviously disappointed not to have won,” said O’Neill.

The manager also looked back on his 18 months in charge and is happy with how things have been going for the Boys in Green. “There are a number of players coming through, which, I’m obviously delighted with. However, let us see where we are at the end of the campaign,” O’Neill concluded.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan, lamented his side’s second half performance, which helped them secure a point in Dublin.

“For all you say about systems, we couldn’t get ours working. Whether it’s through Ireland pressing, the physical strength. They are a big team. Maybe that stopped us or maybe it was our lack of match fitness. So, we took a look at it at half time and we moved a couple of people about. We never had a chance to see if our system worked. All I know is, a very good player [Maloney] scored a wonderful goal again. A very good player has got us a point,” said the Scottish manager.

Strachan was also impressed by the intensity of match considering it was at the end of the season. He also wouldn’t comment on the group standing saying that “you never know what the points are going to be to get you to qualify.” The Scottish manager, to the amusement of the Irish press, congratulated the referee on his performance and said he was “terrific the whole game” and he helped add intensity to the game.

The Republic of Ireland now have a real fight on their hands to make the Euro finals next summer. They currently sit in fourth place, three points behind today’s visitors. They will travel to Gibraltar next, in early September, followed by a home fixture against Georgia.

Scotland, on the other hand, will face Georgia away, followed by a home fixture in Hampden Park against World champions, Germany, 3 days later. They now sit second in Group D, a point ahead of Germany, who have a game in hand against Gibraltar.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Given, Coleman, Wilson, O’Shea (C), Brady, Hendrick, Whelan (McClean 67′), McCarthy, Hoolahan (Keane 73′) , Walters, Murphy (Long 80′)

Substitutes: Forde, Westwood, Keogh, McGeady, Meyler, Christie, Ward, Quinn, McGoldrick

Goals: Walters (38′)
Yellow Cards: Whelan (19′), McCarthy (30′), McClean (88′)

SCOTLAND: Marshall, Hutton, Martin, Mulgrew, Forsyth, Ritchie (Anya 45′), Brown (C) (McArthur 84′), Morrison, Naismith (Berra 91′), Maloney, S.Fletcher

Substitutes: Gordon, Samson, Whittaker, D.Fletcher, Adam, Greer, Robertson, Forrest, Griffiths

Goals: O’Shea (OG 46′)
Yellow Cards: Naismith (88′)

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)

Shelbourne outclass Cabinteely for precious three points

Standard

Shelbourne fans in Tolka ParkShelbourne picked up their first three points since late March after a fine performance against seventh place Cabinteely. Coincidentally, those last three points were picked up in the reverse fixture against the visitors to Tolka Park. The win will also ease the pressure somewhat on manager, Kevin Doherty. He will be hoping that this victory will the put the life back into his squad as they try to move forward after a tough couple of weeks.

The first half started well for the home side. Shelbourne poured the pressure on their visitors from the off. Wingers, Gareth Coughlan and Dylan McGlade troubled the Cabinteely defense on numerous occasions, shifting sides and connecting with some lovely passes to Mark Sandford. The forward covered every blade of grass on the pitch in an effort to win the ball for his side.

The home side’s pressure paid off just before half time. Defender, Adam O’Connor picked up the ball on the edge of the box. With plenty of time to shoot, O’Connor hit the ball with a soft touch of his right foot. His effort crept past Cabinteely keeper, Even Whelan and into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Cabinteely also had some chances to get into the game. However, they just couldn’t make their efforts work. John McKeown was allowed too much space in the box with the ball early on. Fortunately for Shels, the midfielder scuffed his effort and the home side were able to clear the ball.

It was all Shelbourne in the second half. The home side had most of the possession and were constantly attacking their visitors whenever the chance came begging. They were unlucky to add a second goal to their tally. Their best effort was a Conor Earley free kick from the edge of the area. His effort went just over the crossbar. There was also a penalty shout in the dying moments of the game. Craig Walsh looked to be taken down in the box. However, the referee saw it differently and showed the midfielder a yellow card for a dive.

Cabinteely could have snuck a goal in before full-time to take an undeserving point away from Tolka Park. Midfielder, Evan Finnegan, was allowed plenty of time on the ball on the edge of the box. He struck his effort low and hard but it went across the box and inches wide of the post. Shelbourne held off the late attack and secured a precious three points.

Hero

Mark Sandford. The striker was unlucky to be taken off after 63 minutes. However, he had done enough in that time and probably should have put his name on the scoresheet. He was tracking down the ball at every effort and put the Cabinteely defense under pressure whenever he could. A fine display by the young striker.

Zero

Victor Ekanem and Robert Maloney. The central defenders were beaten multiple times by Mark Sandford and Philly Hughes. They were lucky not to concede more goals throughout the game as Shelbourne were relentless in pursuing for a second.

The Crowd Pleaser

The home fans were happy to see their side play some exciting football following last week’s poor showing. However, the pieces of skill that impressed the crowd were undoubtedly, the beautiful long passes made by Dylan McGlade. The winger’s passes were impressive and nearly all of them landed at the feet of their intended target. It was definitely an improvement on last week’s display and got the crowd buzzing.

Best Battle

Dylan Mc Glade vs Daniel Campbell and Jamie McGlynn. The Shels winger zipped past the two full backs several times and made it look easy. Between changing flanks with his partner on the wing, Gareth Coughlan, McGlade managed to work the ball into the box several times and made some perfect long passes to the feet of Sandford and Hughes.

What Happens Next?

With this win Shelbourne end a streak of four league games without a victory. Their next fixture is an away tie against Athlone Town. The reverse fixture ended with a 3-1 win for The Town in Tolka Park, a rarity. The Drumcondra side now move up a spot in the table from sixth to fifth after Cobh Rambler’s lost away to Wexford Youths.

Cabinteely stay put in seventh place with eight points, one ahead of bottom side, Waterford United who held Finn Harps to a 2-2 draw at Finn Park. It’s the clash of the bottom two next week as Cabinteely travel to Waterford United for their next league tie.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, O’Connor, Osam, Robinson, Heaney, Doyle (C), Coughlan (Earley 67′), Walsh, Hughes, Sandford (O’Sullivan 63′), McGlade

Substitutes: Brady, Donnelly, Crowe, Kehoe, Gannon
Goals: O’Connor (41′)
Yellow Cards: Doyle (13′), Coughlan (42′), Robinson (60′), Walsh (87′)

Cabinteely: Whelan, Campbell (Cairns 76′), McGlynn, Ekanem, Maloney(C), Finnegan, Brilly, McKeown (Mazono 44′), Pender, Hanley, Foley (Fahy 66′)

Substitutes: J. Broderick, R. Broderick, Cairns, O’Neill, Hyland

Referee: David Keeler

Attendance: 391

UCD pile more misery onto hopeless Shels

Standard

Tolka Park

Another week and another defeat for Shelbourne, their fourth in a row. Tensions will be high in Tolka Park and it nearly boiled over as a home fan approached manager Kevin Doherty just before the final whistle and vented his frustration regarding the team’s performance. UCD will be undoubtedly happy to revenge their earlier loss in season and put themselves into contention in the promotion race.

The first half was full of drama as UCD put themselves 2-0 up after only 20 minutes. Captain Chris Mulhall put the visitors into the lead after a fine leap into the air, the ball meeting his boot and putting it past Shels’ keeper Greg Murray. Murray will be particularly disappointed to let that goal get in. It wasn’t too much long later that UCD got their second goal of the game. Gary O’Neill picked up the ball at the centre circle and found Jack Watson, who had plenty of space to head the ball over a rushing Murray. Manager, Kevin Doherty became unusually quiet on the sidelines. His assistant John Martin, proceeded to give the instructions from the sideline. Even a word in the ear from Philly Hughes couldn’t get Doherty’s mood to change.

With just over 5 minutes remaining in the half, UCD’s O’Neill went in hard on Jake Donnelly, sending the Shels’ midfielder crashing into the ground. The referee went straight to his pocket and brandished the red card. O’Neill was off for an early bath despite his bit of excellence earlier in the game.

Shelbourne did pick up the pace a bit in the second half but there was not enough fire power to get them back in the game. They had several efforts on goal but failed to hit the target except on the odd occasion. The home home side also managed to work the ball into the box and had plenty of chances to shoot but none of the players would take the chance under pressure. Gareth Coughlan nearly got a goal for the home side in added time but his effort was cleared off the line at the last moment.

Hero

UCD captain Chris Mulhall impressed and he topped off a good display with a fine goal that lead his team to victory. He lead by example and kept the pressure on his team to keep up the pace and attack the home side.

Zero

Gary O’Neill – The midfielder tarnished his perfect assist earlier in the half with a very late tackle on Jake Donnelly. It was definitely worthy of a red card and he was lucky that his team was already two goals to the good.

The Crowd Pleaser

Without doubt Jack Watson’s goal stunned the crowd. The only thing the home fans could do was applaud as it was a fine effort. Shels fans will hope to see like goals like that as the season goes on. In the meantime, they are just hoping their team can score at all.

Best Battle

UCD vs Shelbourne’s defense. The Students exposed the weakness of the Shels defense several times and managed to weave their way into the box from the left flank. This area the pitch has been exposed a few times against Shels in recent fixtures and will definitely need to be worked on by Doherty and his staff.

What Happens Next?

With this defeat Shelbourne still sit in fifth place in the league but should Cobh Ramblers come away with a win or a draw in their next fixture then Shels will drop to sixth. Their next fixture is a home tie against Cabinteely. The fixture is a must win. Another defeat could cost Shels their promotion ambition and will really put the pressure on manager, Kevin Doherty.

UCD move into third with this victory on goal difference at the expense of Athlone Town. The Town can reclaim that spot with a win over Cobh tomorrow. The Students next fixture is another away fixture, this time to Athlone Town. A fixture that could see the Students kick start their own promotion bid.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, O’Connor, Osam, Crowe (Doyle 34′), Heaney, Donnelly (Earley 69′), Coughlan, Walsh, Andrews (C) (Hughes 45′), Sandford, McGlade

Substitutes: Donnelly, Earley, O’Sullivan, Kehoe, Robinson
Yellow Cards: Crowe (25′), Doyle (50′), O’Connor (56′), Coughlan (71′)

UCD: Corbett, Langtry, Leahy, Boyle, McLaughlin, O’Neill, Watts, Mulhall (C), Watson, Swan (Cannon 81′), Doyle (Benson 57′)

Substitutes: Mackey, Coyne, Tobin, Kougoun, Cannon, Kirwan
Goals: Mulhall (10′), Watson (19′)
Yellow Cards: McLaughlin (90′)
Red Cards: O’Neill (37′)

Referee: Marc Lynch

Attendance: 552

Shelbourne return home to face UCD

Standard

Tolka Park

Shelbourne return back to Tolka Park after two consecutive weeks on the road in the league. They will be hosting their south Dublin rivals UCD, who currently sit fourth, one place ahead of their hosts.

The home side have not won since the fixture away to Cabinteely over a month ago. In their last 5 games they have lost four and drawn one. Their last fixture, was an away loss to Finn Harps.

Speaking about last week’s game away to Finn Harps, manager Kevin Doherty said, “I was very pleased with our performance last weekend against Finn Harps, which saw us back to our solid best. We had a number of chances to score that vital first goal, but it just didn’t happen. The penalty decision, which, ultimately meant that we left empty handed, was disappointing, but going forward, this is the type of performance we require to get our season back on track.”

Doherty also gave his thoughts on Friday’s game against UCD. “It was a very tough game when we played them early in the season. They have had a number of good results lately. No doubt we can expect them to come to Tolka and play their usual passing game and I expect that there won’t be much between us at the final whistle,” said the Shelbourne boss.

Last time out, the second week of the season, Shelbourne took all three points from Belfield, courtesy of a goal from defender Sean Heaney in the 75th minute.

In the nine games played between the sides (seven league, two Leinster Senior Cup) since the start of 2012, Shelbourne came out on top in five, UCD in three (including a Leinster Senior Cup game won on penalties), with one game drawn.

Neither side have any suspensions to worry about ahead of this fixture. Shelbourne have only one injury concern with Simon Dixon ruled out for the rest of the season with a head injury suffered in the season opener at home to Finn Harps.

UCD come into the game with two wins, two draws and a loss in their last five games. Their last fixture was 1-1 draw at home to sixth place Cobh Ramblers.

Shelbourne, promotion favourites in pre-season, know that they desperately need three points here if they are to chase the league leaders, Finn Harps, who are 12 points ahead of them. However, UCD will be looking to avenge the defeat from earlier in the season and put another dent into Shels’ season.