Date: 7:45 p.m. Sept. 9, 2011
Venue: Fahy's Field
The first half began with Shels controlling possession, with David Cassidy and Colm James dictating from the middle of the park from the outset. Cassidy had the first real chance of the game in the ninth minute, with an effort from just outside the area which was blocked by Mervue skipper Martin Conneely. Mervue responded by breaking down the right wing with David Goldbey, who put in a cross which midfielder John Mountney got on the end of, only to see his header sail narrowly wide. The league leaders responded with some controlled football resulting in a decent opportunity for Conan Byrne, who shot agonizingly over the crossbar, from just inside the Mervue penalty box.
Hughes was next to go close for Shelbourne in the twenty second minute, when his thundering volley flew narrowly over following good link up play with Cassidy. Shels were now dominating, and should have taken the lead in the twenty fifth minute, when Cassidy played a super through ball which Brendan McGill somehow put wide with the goal at his mercy. The away team would however take the lead in the fortieth minute, in spectacular style. Noel Varley was adjudged to have fouled Hughes on the edge of the Mervue penalty area, and Lorcan Fitzgerald stepped up to smash home a wonderful free kick into the top right corner, leaving Ger Hanly helpless in the Mervue goal.
Mervue responded positively by creating some scoring opportunities at the beginning of the second half, with Mountney first to come close with an effort from distance. James Casserly then had a decent opportunity when a loose corner fell to him in the box, but his shot was straight at Shels keeper Dean Delany, who gladly gathered safely. Etanda Nkololo had a fierce drive fly narrowly wide the sixty third minute, following some excellent interplay from Pat Hoban and Mountney in the middle of the park. The best chance of the half fell to Alex Lee on the 71st Minute, when he managed to break through the Shelbourne defence only to shoot over the crossbar. Mervue would however rue their missed opportunities, as an 85th minute corner struck Mountney on the hand and referee Phil Caschera pointed to the spot.
Hughes slotted the penalty into the bottom left corner, sending Hanley the wrong way in the process. The second goal effectively ended the match as a contest, and after three minutes of stoppage time, Shelbourne’s win was confirmed.
The victory puts them nine points clear at the top of the table, and as the season draws to a close the title looks a nailed on cert to be theirs. Mervue can take some consolation after a decent performance, perhaps wondering what might have been after some missed opportunities.
Mervue United: Ger Hanley; David O’Brien (Damien O’Rourke’63 mins), Kenny Farrell (Mark Ludden ’63 mins) , Martin Conneely, James Casserly, Noel Varley, Alex Lee, Pat Hoban, David Goldbey(Peter Dravins ’74 mins), John Mountney, Etanda Nkololo.
Subs not used: Mike Elwood, Barry McEntee,Kevin Crehan, Brian O Donoghue.
Booked: O’ Brien, Goldbey
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Gareth Matthews, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Andy Boyle, Stephen Paisley, Ian Ryan, Conan Byrne, David Cassidy, Phillip Hughes (Karl Bermingham’90 mins), Colm James( Kevin Dawson ’78 mins), Brendan McGill.
Subs not used: Barry Clancy, Sean Byrne, David De Silva, Chris Mulhall, Kevin Dawson.
Referee: Phil Caschera