Date: 7:45 p.m. May 29, 2009
Venue: Tolka Park
Shelbourne's top scorer took advantage of a poor back pass, rounding Monaghan goalkeeper Ronan McGann in the Monaghan goal before coolly slotting home from a tight angle, taking what must have seemed like an eternity, to send the home crowd into raptures after 87 minutes.
The home team had taken the lead with just seven minutes of the match gone when ex-Dundalk midfielder David Cassidy was tripped by McGann. David Crawley wasted no time in sidefooting low inside the left hand post to give Dermot Keely's side the perfect start.
That was to be the main action of a first half that saw more huff and puff than anything of substance. Karl Bermingham should have done better with a close range header 35 minutes in but his effort was straight at Shelbourne goalkeeper Dean Delaney. The lively Anto Flood followed suit five minutes later when he headed an identical chance into McGann's arms following Mark O'Brien's cross from the right.
Flood looked full of energy from the start and almost doubled his team's lead in first half injury time when Cassidy's long free kick from the right wing wasn't cleared properly by Paul Whelen. Skilfully sidestepping the recovering defender's attempted block, the 24-year old’s eighth goal of the season was only prevented by McGann's fine fingertip save to push the ball over the bar.
The second half began with Shelbourne starting to impose themselves on the game more. McGill’s lofted pass almost led to a goal when Flood latched onto it but despite controlling it on his chest, the ball rolled just out of his reach to safety with eight minutes of the half gone.
With just a single goal advantage there was always an edge in the air regardless of how much possession the home team enjoyed. Bermingham should have done better with a header from point blank range but Delaney reacted instinctively to palm the ball away midway through the half when the Ulstermen began to show signs of flickering into life.
When truly tested by Monaghan, the Drumcondra outfit looked vulnerable, with Flood doing a tough job of holding the ball up with little support from teammates. It was no real surprise when Mick Cooke’s side equalised but it took a moment of real skill from Bermingham, the ex-Derry City player rounded his marker in the area before firing into the net from around ten yards out with seven minutes to go. That looked to be enough to gain a share of the spoils before Flood’s late flourish.
It was a nervous last few minutes for the promotion contenders but they failed to be undone for a second time, holding on for a fourth win in five. Monaghan, the form team of the last few weeks in the division will go home disappointed not to have taken something from the game but Shelbourne, trailing UCD and Waterford by a point, keep the pressure on their fellow promotion hopefuls by consolidating their third place in the table.
Shelbourne F.C: 1. D. Delaney, 2. S. Quigley, 3. D. Crawley (Hedderman 40'), 4. D. Brennan, 5. K. Doherty, 6. M. O'Brien, 7. D. McGill, 8. D. Cassidy, 9. P. Madden (Hynes 74'), 10. A. Flood, 11. R. Baker (Doyle 70') Subs: 12. P. Hynes, 14. R. Hedderman, 17. D. Doyle, 18. K. Murray, 20. V. Whelan
Monaghan United: 1. R. McGann, 2. P. Whelan, 3. S. Grimes, 4. A. Lynch, 5. B. Gartland, 6. D. Tierney, 7. C. O'Connor (Brennan 78'), 8. A. Byrne, 9. K. Bermingham, 10. D. Hanaphy, 11. B. Clancy Subs: 12. S. McCrossan, 13. D. McKenna, 14. S. Brennan, 15. A. McCarey, 16. C. Treacy
Ref: P. Sutton
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: A. Flood (Shelbourne)