Date: 8 p.m. May 14, 2010
The Mons were playing their fifth game in fifteen days but, although they did look a little leg-weary in the concluding stages of the match, fatigue was less a factor in this defeat than the loss of their key holding midfielder Alan Byrne, who departed with a hamstring injury after only eleven minutes.
Byrne’s absence wasn’t immediately significant and during a very bright start to the game for Monaghan Karl Bermingham saw a rising shot from 22 yards thump off the crossbar. After being under the cosh for the first half-hour, Shels began to work their way into the contest.
In the 33rd minute, David McGill tore United up badly down the right flank. Monaghan were slow to close down Ray Scully when he picked up McGill’s cross, and Scully had time to scuff an initial effort before striking a curling right-foot shot which struck the inside of the post and nestled in the net.
The visitors were on the up, and a crisp passing interchange could have yielded a second had their midfielder Paul Shiels – a former Mons favourite – been able to keep his close-in volley sufficiently low.
However, Shels were almost undone by the individual skills of Sean Brennan just before half-time. The United midfielder worked a great opportunity for himself and it took a good diving save from Dean Delaney to keep out his shot.
The second half was a progressively one-sided affair with Shels in control. Gabriel Sava did well to deny Mark Hughes after a thrilling 57th minute run by the Shels forward, and the United keeper then produced an eccentric but effective save with his legs to keep out McGill’s effort on the run.
Hughes stretched United almost to breaking point in the 57th minute when he latched onto a ball over the top from substitute Mark Leech. A combination of Sava and Aidan Collins somehow kept him at bay, and when the ball was half-cleared Shiels met it firmly but sent his shot sizzling past the post.
Sean Byrne came forward from his full-back berth and what seemed intended as a cross would have sneaked in at the top corner had Sava not backtracked desperately to palm away.
When had long seemed an inevitable Shels second eventually arrived with six minutes remaining. McGill chased down Ray Scully’s pass and easily won his duel with United centreback Conor McMahon before coolly slotting the ball into the far corner.
Monaghan United: Sava, McKevitt (Clarke 86), McMahon, Collins, Costigan; Brennan, Tierney, Byrne (Donnelly 11 (Hanaphy 70)), Clancy; Bermingham, Hughes.
Subs not used: McMahon, Lynch.
Shelbourne: Delaney; Clarke, Ryan, Whelan, Byrne; McGill, Shiels, Scully (Leech 66), O’Brien; Gorman (Corcoran 83), Hughes.
Subs not used: Clarke, Forsyth, Williams.
Referee: Paul Tuite.