Peter Hynes, Ritchie Baker and Paddy Madden each found the net in a thoroughly deserved 3-0 battering of a poor Dundalk side. Hynes and Baker’s strikes could have been added to in the first half, with both Hynes and Anto Flood hitting the woodwork when in on goal. Madden’s second half strike wrapped up a fine victory for Dermot Keely’s men.
Shelbourne completely dominated the first half, enjoying numerous chances from the start as the trio of Paddy Madden, Peter Hynes and Anto Flood each started in a 4-3-3 formation which the visitors failed to cope with.
As early as the eleventh minute Shels’ forward line should have opened the scoring. Ritchie Baker released Flood down the right and his low ball, across the face of the goal, only avoided the onrushing Madden by fractions.
In the fourteenth minute, George O’Callaghan’s poorly played backpass was intercepted by Madden who rounded Chris Bennion however his shot rolled agonisingly wide from an extremely acute angle. Dundalk were all over the shop at this stage and a minute later Robbie Hedderman met a Baker free in the box, but his header flew just wide.
Peter Hynes played Flood in over the top after twenty minutes however as he ran away to celebrate what looked like a delightful lob over the hapless Bennion, delight was turned to agony as the ball hit the post and bounced out of the goal.
The thirty fifth minute finally yielded a well deserved goal for the Reds – David Cassidy played in Hynes who coolly made a difficult shot look simple with a fine strike into the corner of the net. Baker added a second five minutes later when he found space in the Dundalk box. His first effort was blocked however the ball dropped kindly for him and a delicate chip saw the ball past Bennion.
A minute before the break and Hynes almost made it three as he out-muscled Michael Daly to the ball however his cute chip, like Flood’s earlier in the half, hit the post rather than the back of the net as Shels headed off at half time a comfortable two goals up.
The only chance of note for the visitors in the second half came from a mix-up in the box from a corner which allowed Darren Mansaram a couple of efforts at goal, from close range.
Shelbourne finally made it three when the incredibly energetic Paddy Madden met David Crawley’s free kick at the back post with a cool finish to wrap up the tie. Madden peeled off the back of the defenders almost unnoticed to volley an excellent goal.
The rest of the half was less eventful, but just as comfortable from a Shels point of view. The deployment across the middle of Baker alongside Mark O’Brien and Derek Doyle from the substitute’s bench stifled much Dundalk’s possession, with Shelbourne seemingly intent to cast last Friday’s disappointing result against UCD aside. It was a professional performance from the First Division outfit, in what was their easiest victory this season.
Shelbourne: Vinny Whelan; Stephen Quigley, Alan Keely (Derek Doyle 7), Robbie Hedderman, David Crawley; Paddy Madden, David McGill, David Cassidy (Mark O’Brien 75), Richie Baker; Peter Hynes, Anto Flood (Darren Meenan 71).
Subs not used: Dean Delany (gk), Jordan McMillan.
Dundalk: Chris Bennion; Michael Daly, Liam Burns (Michael Coburn 54), Simon Kelly, Dave Rogers; Sean Mackle, George O’Callaghan, Chris Turner, Harpal Singh; Declan O’Brien (Michael McGinlay 46), Darren Mansaram.
Subs not used: Ryan Coulter, Dwight Barnett, Mark Griffin.
Referee: Dave McKeon
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ritchie Baker (Shelbourne).