Date: 8 p.m. April 1, 2011
Venue: Tolka Park
It looked like Phily Hughes' goal after 85 minutes had got Shels the win, only for Paudie Quinn to get a dramatic equaliser for Limerick a minute into stoppage time.
Limerick were fairly dominant for the opening ten minutes, restricting Shels to only two forays in the first 15 minutes of the match. The Shannonsiders failed to really make their chances count though, and allowed Shels more of the ball as the match progressed.
Peter Hynes- a former Shels player- set up Jeffrey Judge to shoot marginally wide of the Shels goal after a quarter of an hour. Limerick may have had most of the first half possession, but the Reds very nearly made their first chance count- Conan Byrne only just missing out on a Kevin Dawson cross after 13 minutes.
Dawson himself could have put Shels ahead just before the half hour mark- just failing to connect with a deep Conan Byrne cross. The Reds weren't their usual selves of late though- increasingly opting for long balls over short passing. When Shels did go forward, Limerick did an effective job of closing them down enough to make them fluff their chances.
That effective Limerick pressing came nearly paid off when ex-Shels striker Peter Hynes forced a fine save out of his former teammate Dean Delany on 38 minutes, shooting for the top right corner from 30 yards out. The Shels 'keeper had to make a full-stretch save to deny Hynes the opening goal.
Shels opened the first half well- playing more expansive football than they had been playing in the opening half. Stephen Paisley had a chance two minutes after the break- but his free-header from a David Cassidy cross was well wide. Cassidy was at the heart of another fine Shels move almost straight away- this time setting up Brendan McGIll to shoot wide from the edge of the Limerick penalty area.
The visiting side came back into the match soon though, with Pat Purcell spurning a great chance to score on 52 minutes. The defender hit the ball wide of the post from right in front of the Shels goal after a well-taken corner by Shane Tracy. After an hour of play Phily Hughes had another chance- his flick-on from a David Cassidy pass just falling over the Limerick crossbar. Substitute Stephen O'Flynn looked a threat for the Blues, and went close on 64 minutes- his long-range effort went wide in the end though.
The high-pressure style of play favoured by the Shannonsiders' manager Pat Scully worked well- forcing Shels into using long balls to supply Phily Hughes up front. Shels couldn't take the chances they did have though- Brendan McGill's low shot from outside the box shot parried well away by Barry Ryan in goal for Limerick on 67 minutes. The Blues went on the attack then, Paudie Quinn having a free header cleared off the line by a Shels defender- Stephen O'Flynn subsequently shooting wide on the rebound when it looked easier to score.
With ten minutes remaining, Shels attempted to up the pressure up on their opponents, winning a succession of corners and free-kicks in dangerous areas. None of them really went close though, mainly thanks to Limerick's effective crowd defence. LImerick were probably the better side on the night, but failed to take their chances. They were made to pay for this with five minutes remaining, when after a good five-minute period of pressure, Phily Hughes shot low past Ryan from a very tight angle.
Limerick went in search of an equaliser straight away, and thanks to some awful Shels defending they got it a minute into injury time. The ball was crossed into the Shels area, and after the home defenders missed two chances to clear it, Paudie Quinn hammered the ball past Dean Delany to get the away side a dramatic but deserved draw.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany, Ian Ryan, Barry Clancy, Andy Boyle, Stephen Paisley, Kevin Dawson (Colm James '89), David McGill, David Cassidy (Lorcan Fitzgerald '91), Philip Hughes, Conan Byrne (Chris Mulhall '65), Brendan McGill.
Subs Not Used: Gareth Matthews, John Sullivan, Karl Bermingham, Paul Skinner.
Limerick: Barry Ryan, Corey Treacy, John Frost, Pat Purcell, Brian McCarthy, Shane Tracy, Peter White, Jeffrey Judge (David O'Leary '85), Chris Breen (Sean O'Connor '65), Paudie Quinn, Peter Hynes (Stephen O'Flynn '58)
Subs Not Used: Stephen McGann, Garbhan Broughall, Darren Coleman, Shane Cusack.
Referee: Conor Fitzgerald (Galway)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Paudie Quinn