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

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Youths take a point despite Shels onslaught

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Tolka Park

Wexford Youths will be counting themselves lucky after leaving Tolka Park with a point after an entertaining, albeit one-sided goaless draw in the capital. Shelbourne dominated the possession from the start and had numerous efforts to take all three points but they just could not break the deadlock and will be left fuming with this result as they push towards the latter stage of the season.

The first half was a lively affair. Shelbourne were in control for most of the opening exchanges. Gareth Coughlan had a wonderful chance to put his side ahead early in the game. The winger moved in from the left hand side of the pitch and muscled his way towards the centre of the box. Pulling off a dummy shot, Coughlan then gave himself plenty of space and time to take a crack at goal. His effort curled from right to left but landed straight in the arms of Youth’s keeper Graham Doyle.

Coughlan also had a few other chances to put his side ahead. However, his efforts were soft and were easily picked up by Doyle. The best effort in the half started with a lovely pass by Philip Hughes, his back to the goal, laying the ball to Mark Sandford. The young striker hit the ball sweetly with his right foot and it was curling towards goal. However, there was just a bit too much power behind it as it crept over the bar.

Wexford Youths came into their own after the first quarter. Ryan Delaney went close to putting the visitors ahead with a perfectly timed header from a free kick. The effort was picked out by Shelbourne’s shot stopper, Greg Murray.

Wexford Youths came back onto the pitch after the break a livelier side as they knew, arguably, they should have been behind going in at half time. Andrew Mulligan went close to putting his side ahead with a low shot to the right which troubled Murray as the ball spilled out of his hands. Danny Furlong went for a strike at goal but was beaten to the punch by Murray who tucked the ball safely in his hands and chest. A let off for the home side.

The second half was only ten minutes old when the the biggest talking point of the game occurred. James English, on for Mark Sandford at the break, had made his way into the box when attempting to slither through two of the visiting defenders. The striker clattered into the defence and landed flat on the ground, hands in the air. The referee and his assistant judged that there wasn’t much in it. A real let off for the visitors as a penalty could have easily been given on another day.

In the latter stages of the half, It was all the home side. They attacked and attacked but they just could not break the deadlock. Hughes had a few good efforts at goal. The pick of the punch being Darragh Gannon directing a long pass to the striker, who picked it up just inside the area and took a shot, however the effort was tipped wide by Doyle.

English seemed to be brought down a second time in the box. However, he looked to have made the most of it as it appeared that Lee Grace had grabbed a fistful of the striker’s shirt. The striker also went close several times from dead ball situations. He managed to direct a number of headers towards goal but they either crept over, were tipped over or cleared inches from the line.

The draw halts Shelbourne’s four game winning streak. They now sit in third place, four points behind new league leaders, Finn Harps. UCD, who are fourth, remain a threat to Shels, as they sit one point behind but have two games in hand after their exploits in Europe. Shelbourne travel to fifth place, Cobh Ramblers next Saturday as they push ahead in their bid for promotion back to the Premier Division.

Wexford Youths drop to second in the league despite earning their first point in nearly three weeks. They will be at home next Friday to welcome Finn Harps in the clash of the top two in the division. Manager, Shane Keegan will know that his side will need to improve if they wish to secure the top spot once again.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, Gannon, Osam, Robinson, Heaney, Doyle (C), Coughlan, Donnelly (Walsh 60′), Hughes, Sandford (English 45′), McGlade

Substitutes: Ryan, Andrews, Crowe, O’Sullivan, Walshe
Yellow Cards: Coughlan (35′)

Wexford Youths: Doyle (C), McCabe, R.Delaney (Tyrell 61′), G.Delaney, Grace, Higgins, Mulligan, Wall, Furlong, Cathillane (Dunne 93′), Whittle (Molloy 61′)

Substitutes: Dunne, Dermody, Kenny, Peare, Dowling
Yellow Cards: Wall (85′)

Referee: Ben Connolly

Attendance: 762

Shelbourne take three points from Athlone visit

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Tolka Park

Shelbourne secured a 3-1 win on a chilly summer’s night at Tolka Park. The match had its share of controversy but a fine display by the hosts meant they took all three points and kept their sights firmly on the promotion race back to the Premier Division.

It was the home side that got off to a flying start after only four minutes of play. Shelbourne were awarded a free kick some 25 yards out and Gareth Coughlan stood up to the dead ball effort. His effort was low and was missed by all in the box. However, it landed at the feet of Sean Heaney. The defender, from six yards out, struck the ball into the back of the net. Athlone’s Philip Gorman was unlucky not to clear the ball off the line and will no doubt be rueing in not reaching the ball.

Shels were setting the pace in the first quarter to half an hour of the game and were closing down Athlone at every attempt when the visitors were on the ball. It wasn’t until the 20th minute that Athlone had their first real effort of the game. Daniel Purdy struck a free kick some 30 to 35 yards out. It was a fine effort, which was hit with some force. However, Shels keeper Greg Murray was on hand to collect the ball and keep his team ahead.

It was all Shels from thereon in. A long ball was picked up sweetly by Philip Hughes, who then dipped it over the head of Athlone defender Aidan Collins. The striker then connected with the ball for an effort on goal. His shot though, went across the box and wide of the goal. The Athlone fans let out a collective exhale as they witnessed their side stay in the game.

Heaney was close to doubling his side’s lead, and his own tally at that, close to end of the first half. Coughlan whipped in an lovely effort into the box. Defender, Heaney was the first to meet the ball but his effort just crept over the crossbar and out for a goal kick. The final bit of play of the half was left to veteran striker Hughes and Shels new boy James English. Hughes managed to weave his way to the edge of the box and saw his younger teammate creeping up behind him. He played the ball off to English but the young man’s effort to return the favour was poor and was cleared away by the Athlone defence.

When the sides returned to the pitch, it was Athlone Town that looked the livelier side. Stephen Dunne had an good effort from just outside the area. He struck the ball well but it took a slight deflection and was collected easily by Murray.

In the end, Athlone Town’s attacking efforts paid off. The visitors worked their way into the box and made some lovely passes within the box. the ball landed to Aidan Friel just inside the edge of the box. His pass picked out Jamie O’Donnell, who from seven or eight yards out powered the ball into the back of the net.

Shels hit back though and were close to retaking the lead when Daire Doyle met the ball with the back of his head. The effort looped high but sailed over the bar and didn’t trouble Paddy Dunican.

The next few minutes were turbulent to say the least. Shelbourne kept pushing at and attacking the Athlone defence. It was if they were adamant to get that vital goal. The clock was creeping up to the 65th minute when Coughlan, on the half way line, chipped a lovely ball ahead of Hughes. It was a battle between Hughes and Town captain, Brian Shorthall, to win the ball. The striker did enough to bully the defender off the ball and from inside the box fired an effort that hit the back of the net. Shels were in the lead again.

The match had only restarted when, Athlone goalscorer, O’Donnell went in high on a tackle with Jake Donnelly. The referee didn’t need to hear the roar of the crowd to make up his mind on this one. It was a straight red for the striker.

Shelbourne used their advantage of having an extra man on the field. They constantly attacked when on the ball and used the long ball effectively. Their only offence was leaving their visitors with too much space to creep through and collect incoming passes.

Athlone to their credit were close to getting an equaliser towards the end of the proceedings. Purdy whipped in a free kick and Gorman, with plenty of space, lept into the air and tried to head the ball down towards the goal but his effort sailed over the crossbar and had Shels manager, Kevin Doherty, furious that his defence left so much space free for an effort to be made.

With the game in injury time, Shelbourne killed it off. Dylan McGlade collected a lovely high pass. The winger nutmeged the oncoming defender and worked his way around him. Collecting the ball at the right hand side, McGlade fired the ball high, over the keeper and into the back of net. The effort had those in the stands in amazement. His manager showed his delight with a punch of his fist into the cool Tolka breeze.

The final whistle was met with loud cheers from the home support as Shelbourne’s notched up their third league win in succession. This results now leaves them in third place in the league, three points ahead of UCD. However, the students have two games in hand. Shels will travel to the Regional Sports Centre next weekend to take on Waterford United.

This loss leaves Athlone Town with only one victory in their last five league games. They now sit in fifth place, six points behind the aforementioned UCD. They will have their hands full next week as they host league leaders, Wexford Youths.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, O’Connor, Osam, Robinson, Heaney, Doyle (C), Coughlan, Donnelly (Walsh 74′), Hughes, English (Walshe 79′), McGlade (Kehoe 91)

Substitutes: Ryan, Andrews, Gannon, Robinson
Goals: Heaney (4′), Hughes (64′), McGlade (90′)
Yellow Cards: Doyle (17′)

ATHLONE TOWN: Dunican, Friel, Doyle, Shortall (C) (Mulroney 71′), Collins, Dunne, Boyne, Purdy, Gorman, O’Neill (Gaul 67′), O’Donnell

Substitutes: Gleeson, O’Connor, Kelly, Hewitt, Molloy
Goals: O’Donnell (56′)
Yellow Cards: Friel (32′)
Red Cards: O’Donnell (66′)

Referee: John McLaughlin

Attendance: 583

Shelbourne outclass Cabinteely for precious three points

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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

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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

Lights out for Shels as Youths take 3 points

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Tolka Park

Technical glitches at Tolka Park were just the icing on the cake on what was an embarrassing night for Shelbourne. Nonetheless, two of the favourites for promotion this season, Shelbourne and Wexford Youths entertained the crowd. It was to be Wexford that came away from this important league clash with all three points after a game that had six goals in it.

The home side got off to a flying start when Gareth Coughlan whipped in across towards the box. The ball met the head of Mark Sandford and looped over the stretching keeper and into the top right hand corner of the net. Then the electrical fairies struck Tolka Park as the floodlights failed and the pitch went dark. The referee suspended play and both teams went back to the dressing rooms.

The game resumed some 30 minutes later. The home proceeded to collapse as the visitors took advantage of the spontaneous break to re group and went on the attack from the off. Shels defender Ryan Robinson nearly gifted the home side the equaliser after he lost the ball to Aidan Keenan on the edge of the box. His effort going just wide of goal. Danny Furlong also had another great chance from a free kick. His effort went inches wide of the goal. Then on the half hour mark, Gary Delaney’s head connected with the ball from a corner. His effort flew past Shelbourne shot-stopper, Greg Murray.

Shelbourne could have gone into the lead not long after. Striker, Sandford was gifted a long ball but he couldn’t get the right first touch on the ball. He tried to play it forward but he scuppered his pass. Efforts went back and forth with Wexford having the best of chances. Their efforts at goal were rewarded on the 38th minute as Furlong made his way up the right hand side of the pitch. He chipped in beautifully from the edge of the box and Keenan was there to meet the ball. His header, like Sandford earlier in the game, looped over a stretching Murray and into the top left hand corner of the goal.

Referee, John McLaughlin must have got caught up in all the excitement happening at Tolka Park. He booked Shels’ Sean Heaney after an elbow on a Youths’ player. Then after consulting the lineman, McLoughlin proceeded to book Ryan Robinson.

The second half, like the previous week, started well for Shelbourne. The side went on the attack from the off and we rewarded for their pressure in the opponent’s half. Conor Early won the ball on the right flank and proceeded to dribble his way around numerous Wexford players and towards the centre of the box. From there he struck the ball sweet and low past Doyle.

The momentum was to stop eight minutes later. Craig Walsh was deemed to have brought down a player in the box. Danny Furlong fired home the spot kick, Greg Murphy guessed the correct way but he couldn’t get a hand to it. The net had not even settled from the penalty when Wexford’s Conor Whittle fired home low and long into the bottom right hand corner to extend the visitor’s lead.

Shelbourne seemed to pick up the pace again when Philly Hughes was brought on. The home side could have easily got a goal back but not for the woodwork. Conor Early’s great strike struck the crossbar and bounced off. Just seconds later, Early seemed to be fouled in the box but the referee just waved play on.

Things got worse for the home side with seven minutes remaining. Defender Ryan Robinson, went late into a tackle. He knew straight away his game was over even before the referee pulled out the yellow card and quickly followed by the red card.

Shels will now look to bounce back in their next fixture, an away trip on Saturday week to St. Colman’s Park to face Cobh Ramblers. Meanwhile, Wexford Youths will be at home for their next game, against Finn Harps, also on Saturday week.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, Doyle (C) (Hughes 64′), Osam, Robinson, Heaney (Andrews 52′), Crowe, Coughlan, Walsh, Sandford, Keegan, Early (O’Sullivan 81′)

Substitutes: Brady, Donnelly, O’Connor, Gannon

Goals: Sandford (9′), Early (52′)
Yellow CardsHeaney (27′), Robinson (27′, 83′)
Red Cards: Robinson (’83)

WEXFORD YOUTHS: Doyle (C), Whittle, Dermody, Delaney, Grace, McCabe, Higgins (Bonnar 77′), Wall, Furlong, Molloy (Mulligan 69′), Keenan

Substitutes: Houghton, Delaney, Drohan, English
Goals: Delaney (30′), Keenan (38′), Furlong (60′), Whittle (63′)
Yellow Cards: Delaney (18′)

Referee: John McLoughlin

Attendance: 676

Promotion contenders clash at Tolka Park

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Shelbourne fans in Tolka ParkIt is third against fourth at Tolka Park on Friday night as Wexford travel to the capital to face promotion rivals Shelbourne in a tie that neither side will want to be on the losing end of.

In their last league fixture away to Waterford United, Shelbourne came back from a two-nil first half deficit to draw the game 2-2. Such was their performance in the last half-hour of the game, forcing corner after corner, that they can be considered unlucky not to have taken all three points back up the M9 to Dublin.

Shels also suffered a 1-0 defeat on the road mid-week to Dundalk in Oriel Park in the second round of the EA Sports Cup. John Mountney’s 11th minute cracker was enough to see off the visitors and put the reigning champions through to the next round.

Wexford Youths, on the other hand, had a magnificent win over one of the other favourites for the league title, Athlone Town, – being the first side this season to take all three points from them.

Of the four games played between Shelbourne and Wexford last season, the Reds won both games played at Tolka Park (2-0 and 3-0), whereas ‘Youths’ won one of their home games (1-0), with the other ending in a 1-1 draw.

On last week’s league game away to Waterford United, Shelbourne manager Kevin Doherty stated he was very happy with the second half display in Waterford, adding “with a bit of luck we could have got the winner. I thought we weren’t too bad in the first half and were somewhat unlucky to be two down at half time – a goal from a set-piece and a wonder goal. I’m very happy with the squad of players I have. They are a very young group and continue to learn all the time.”

And speaking about Friday’s opposition, the manager said, “Wexford are a very good side. I have already said that I see them as the probable winners of the league this season. We know what to expect and we have prepared well for the game. It’s up to us to show what we can do, now.

Shelbourne’s injury problems have not abated and they go into Friday night’s game still missing Simon Dixon, Paul Andrews, Dylan McGlade, Sean Heaney and Dave Ryan. Defender Alan Kehoe is doubtful, having left the field early at Oriel Park with a slight groin injury.

The visitors go into this game without injured duo Dean Broaders and Stephen Last. Both are two weeks away from a return to first team consideration. Andy Mulligan returned to training this week after a hamstring strain and is pushing for a recall to the squad.

There are also injury concerns over Craig Comerford who injured his back in last week’s win over Athlone Town, while Craig Wall (ankle) and Eric Molloy (foot) will face late assessments.