Date: 8 p.m. July 22, 2011
Venue: Tolka Park
Philip Hughes scored the equaliser on 16 minutes to cancel out Gerry Dolan's earlier goal, with further Shels goals coming from Conan Byrne, Colm James and Chris Mulhall.
Salthill took the lead after just nine minutes, with Gerry Dolan stunning the home crowd into silence with a goal from a corner. In truth though, Shels 'keeper Dean Delany probably had the biggest hand in the goal. Delany fumbled the ball as he rose to claim it, leading to a scramble in the six-yard box. Dolan was at hand to poke the ball in and score Salthill's first ever goal against Shels in the process.
Minutes earlier Conan Byrne should have done better when Philip Hughes whipped the ball in perfectly for him from the right wing. Just a few feet from goal and ahead of his marker, Byrne could only nudge the ball into the arms of Salthill 'keeper Ronan Forde.
That goal was just the catalyst Shels needed though, with the Reds going on the attack almost immediately afterwards. David Cassidy rattled the Devon crossbar with a half volley a minute after the goal and Philip Hughes forced a good save out of Ronan Forde soon afterwards.
Hughes leads the First Division scoring charts with 12 goals, but he showed his skills aren't just limited to poaching when he scored the equaliser. Ronan Forde fouled Conan Byrne on the edge of the Salthill box after 16 minutes. David Cassidy dummied the free-kick and Hughes hammered it low through the wall into the bottom right corner.
It looked like Shels might continue to dominate after the goal, but Salthill showed flashes of the good play which has seen them almost take points from Cork City and Longford Town in recent weeks. Ronan Forde was kept busy but put in a fine performance to keep Shels at bay. On 28 minutes he got down low to deny Conan Byrne at close range and minutes later pushed Ian Ryan's powerful header over superbly.
Devon had a good period of dominance just before half time, with most of the play being in the Shels third of the pitch. Ronan Conlon forced Dean Delany to make a fine save to his left, with the Shels 'keeper palming the shot out for a corner. Shels captain David McGill was carried off the pitch on a stretcher a few minutes before half time after a collision with Ronan Forde.
Conan Byrne put Shels ahead seven minutes in to the second half. From a free-kick wide on the left, David Cassidy swung the ball in high towards a pack of Shels players. Conan Byrne edged ahead of his marker, managing to stay onside, before heading well past Forde in the Salthill goal.
Byrne spurned a glorious chance to extend the Shels lead on 66 minutes. David Cassidy played a delicate through ball over the top of the Salthill defence, with Byrne onside and racing unmarked towards goal. With just the 'keeper to beat, he tried to dink the ball around Forde but instead just chipped it up in to his arms.
The match was never really dominated by either side, despite Shels having most of the chances on goal. Devon never gave up but any hopes they had of pulling the match back were put out on 70 minutes. Colm James scored his first goal in Shels colours, putting the ball simply past Forde in a situation similar to the one Conan Byrne had wasted minutes earlier. Again, David Cassidy was the creator with another perfect through ball.
Shels looked fairly comfortable for the rest of the match. Conan Byrne shot wide on 77 minutes and the ball stayed up the Salthill end for most of the rest of the match. With three minutes of normal time left some rare pressure on the Shels defence was relieved with a long clearance and a counter attack launched. Philly Hughes played a superb sideways pass across two defenders to set Chris Mulhall up for an expertly-placed finish into the bottom left corner.
Salthill, in particular their goalkeeper Ronan Forde, can take positives from an impressive first-half performance but Shels were simply irresistible offensively tonight.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Gareth Matthews, Lorcan Fizgerald, Ian Ryan, Andy Boyle; Colm James [Barry Clancy '75], David McGill [Kevin Dawson '43], David Cassidy, Conan Byrne, Brendan McGill [Chris Mulhall '57]; Philip Hughes.
Subs Not Used: Paul Skinner, Sean Byrne, John Sullivan, Karl Bermingham.
Yellow Cards: None.
Salthill Devon Ronan Forde; Luke McConnell, Ray Winters, Paddy Quinlan, Brian Geraghty; Eugene Greaney, Timmy Molloy, Emmett Shaw [Shane Brown '84], Paul Smith [Niall Brennan '60]; Ronan Conlon, Gerry Dolan [Paul Conboy '60].
Subs Not Used: Charlie Burke,Victor Collins, Colm Power, Colm Horgan.
Yellow Cards: Ronan Forde, Brian Geraghty, Eugene Greaney.
Attendance: 762 (official)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: David Cassidy.