Shelbourne produced one of the most dominant performances seen in quite a while to do away with A Championship side FC Carlow, 4-0 the score at full-time. Ian Ryan opened the scoring before half time and the other Shels goals came from Ray Scully, Lorcan Fitzgerald and Philip Hughes.
After an early moment of pressure from the visitors, the Reds were largely dominant for most of the first half. John Sullivan forced a corner on seven minutes with a low shot, but a succession of Shels chances afterwards came to nothing.
Two minutes later Chris Mulhall grazed the top of the Carlow crossbar with a chipped shot after a corner- Shels' second of six in the first half. The home side put together some fluent passing moves, with Ray Scully and Colm James in particular running the show in midfield, but found it difficult to break a stubborn Carlow side.
Carlow 'keeper Kevin Duncan spared their blushes several times in the first half- most notably after 27 minutes after he dived at the feet of Lorcan Fitzgerald to deny Shels an almost certain goal after Chris Mulhall won the ball and played the full-back in on goal.
The resolute Carlow defence was broken eventually though, as Ian Ryan at last gave Shels the lead just before half time. Lorcan Fitzgerald forced a corner with a low shot from a free-kick yards outside the box, which Brendan McGill took. The ball fell to Ryan just on the edge of the six-yard area, and he blasted it forcefully past Duncan in goal for 1-0.
Shels followed up their strong end to the first half with a good start in the second. Ray Scully doubled their lead after 50 minutes, heading the ball in at the near post after a deflected Lorcan Fitzgerald cross fell to him. The First Division league leaders could have had another goal minutes later,
Lorcan Fitzgerald confirmed the home side's dominance on 74 minutes, after Carlow had James Cogley sent off because of a foul on Chris Mulhall on the edge of the Carlovian box. Fitzgerald stepped up to take the resulting free-kick, and struck the ball well past the reach of Kevin Duncan.
As if the result wasn't certain enough, Shels were still on the lookout for more goals. Philip Hughes made it 4-0 on 78 minutes- striking a free-kick powerfully past Duncan from 30 yards out. The Reds saw out the remaining ten minutes or so without much hassle- 'keeper Paul Skinner making his first save of the match after 92 minutes.
FC Carlow: Kevin Duncan; Shane Clarke, James Cogley, Eanna O'Gorman, Christopher Browne, Neale Phelan [JJ Connelly '64], Nicky Cosgrave [Shane Murphy '84], Emmet Phelan, Grzegorz Sykula, Craig Hore, Gary Smith [John Brennan 64]
SUBS NOT USED: Stephen Duncan
Shelbourne: Paul Skinner, Gareth Matthews [Sean Byrne '61], Lorcan Fitzgerald, Ian Ryan, Stephen Paisley [David McGill '67], Colm James, Ray Scully, John Sullivan, Karl Bermingham, Chris Mulhall, Brendan McGill [Philip Hughes '71]
SUBS NOT USED: Dean Delany, Conan Byrne, David Cassidy, Kevin Dawson
Referee: Rob Daly (Dublin)
Extratime.ie Man of the match: Colm James
Niall Farrell is our correspondent at Tolka Park, covering the goings-on at Shelbourne. You can visit Niall's website for further information and contact details- niallf.net.