Date: 8 p.m. March 23, 2010
Alan Byrne 67' -
In a lively game in which both defences looked edgy in the early stages, David Cassidy might have fired the visitors in front in the 12th minute but he blazed his volley over the crossbar when clear in the penalty area.
An under strength United fielding local prospects Niall Flynn in defence and Phillip Donnelly in attack gradually gained composure, and by the time Sean Brennan glanced a header just wide at the opening of the second half the Mons were firmly in the ascendancy.
A prodigious long throw from Alan Byrne in the 59th minute allowed Brian Gartland to hook a shot from an acute angle which Shels’ defender Ian Ryan headed out from beneath the crossbar with ‘keeper Steve Williams beaten.
Monaghan caught the visitors cold with a brilliant counterattack in the 66th minute, Barry Clancy arrowing a pass for Philly Hughes to run onto and boom a shot that rocketed off the crossbar.
Two minutes later United made the vital breakthrough when Byrne chased down Brennan’s cross from the left wing and powered home a header from close range.
To their credit Monaghan chased the second goal that would have secured the win and Byrne almost supplied it with another firm header in the 85th minute which flashed a foot past the post.
Inevitably some chances did fall Shels’ way in what were increasingly nervous final minutes for the home supporters, but Gartland made a vital clearance when David Cassidy weaved his way through the defence before Gabriel Sava in the United goal made a vital save from Cassidy in the penultimate minute to prevent the game being extended into extra time.
Monaghan United: Sava; McMahon, Flynn, Gartland, Costigan; O’Connor, Byrne, Brennan, Clancy; Donnelly (McKevitt 62), Hughes.
Subs not used: Clarke, Coleman, McMahon, Lynch.
Shelbourne: Williams; Scully, Ryan (Flynn 67), Whelan, Quigley; McGill, Shiels, Cassidy, O’Brien (M Clarke 60); Forsyth (Corcoran, 46), Hughes.
Subs not used: R Clarke, Gorman.
Referee: John Grimes