Brendan Graham reports from Tolka Park
Shelbourne advanced to the promotion play-offs with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Galway United tonight at Tolka Park on Saturday evening.
Goals from James English, Greg Moorhouse and Reece McEnteer helped the Reds to a third-place finish which will see them face Drogheda United over two legs next month.
Shelbourne, with one foot already in the play-offs, started like they meant business and Moorhouse almost broke the deadlock just seconds after kick-off.
Karl Moore had the ball played into space for him to run onto down the left before he swung an early cross towards Moorhouse close to goal.
Moorhouse used every inch of his body to try to make contact with the cross but it wasn’t enough and the ball flashed just past. Stephen Walsh cleared to ease the pressure briefly.
The early chance was a sign of things to come from Shels and they did manage to get themselves in front just three minutes later.
A trademark Lorcan Fitzgerald corner was planted onto the head of English at the near post and he rifled his header into the roof of the net to give Owen Heary’s side the perfect start.
Galway were slow to settle into the game and had to wait until the eighteenth minute before creating their first real chance of the game.
Alan Murphy tried his luck from distance but it was rising from the moment the player-manager hit it and never troubled Delaney.
If it wasn’t for the acrobatics of Galway goalkeeper Tadhg Ryan, Shels could have had their second and third midway through the first half.
English had a gilt-edged chance to double his side's lead midway through the half when he got a foot onto a pinpoint cross from Moore only for Ryan to tip the ball over the bar and deny English his second of the night.
Moorhouse found himself one on one with Ryan after a smart Shane Farrell dummy gave the striker license to advance towards goal, but Ryan made himself big and got low to keep his side in the game.
Shelbourne started the second half similarly to how they started the first, with Galway struggling to deal with the pace down the wings of Moore and English.
They doubled their lead ten minutes into the second period as Moorhouse put the finishing touch to a fantastic counter attack.
Lorcan Fitzgerald, who was inches away from scoring seconds earlier with a superb free kick close to goal, played provider from defence.
He robbed the ball from McCormack before spotting the early run from Moorhouse at the other end of the pitch.
Moorhouse ran straight onto the ball and slotted calmly past Ryan before the Galway defence could get themselves anywhere close to their positions at the back.
English had the ball in the net for the second time on the night with a header close to goal but it was ruled out immediately for offside.
They did get their third of the night ten minutes later after another great spell of pressure deep into the Galway half.
Reece McEnteer, who was only introduced minutes before,, delayed his run into the box and timed it perfectly at the back post for an easy finish to kill the game off.
Owen Heary’s side will now play Drogheda United in a two legged play-off with the winner advancing to play second-placed Finn Harps.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney; John Ross Wilson, Aidan Collins (Reece McEnteer 60), Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Mark Hughes, Alan Byrne, Karl Moore, James English; Shane Farrell (Paddy Kavanagh 80) , Greg Moorhouse (David O’Sullivan 73)
Subs not used: Lee Steacy (gk), Gavin Boyne, Adam Evans, Dayle Rooney.
Booked: Greg Moorhouse (30).
Galway United: Tadhg Ryan; Stephen Walsh, Aaron Conway (Sean Russell 83), Conor Melody; Ryan Connolly (Colin Kelly 61), Maurice Nugent, Carlton Ubaezuonu, Gary Shanahan, Alan Murphy; Eoin McCormack (Donal Higgins 72), Conor Barry.
Subs not used: Arek Mamela (gk), Alex Byrne, Dara Mulgannon.
Booked: Alan Murphy (31).
Referee: Garvin Taggart.
Attendance: 534 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Lorcan Fitzgerald (Shelbourne).