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Shelbourne had a comprehensive 4-0 win over Dundalk on a wet Friday night in Tolka Park. Leading 1-0 at half time from a Philly Gorman goal, they added three unanswered second half goals from Gorman again, Kevin Dawson and a Ben McLaughlin own goal.
The first opening of the game came to the home side on 10 minutes. Lorcan Fitzgerald was able to bring the ball out from the back to link up with Paddy Kavanagh. The winger then picked out Kevin Dawson in the box but Peter Cherrie in the Dundalk goal was quickly off his line to gather the ball at the feet of Dawson.
The conditions in Tolka Park were difficult with heavy rain falling for most of the game. The ball zipped off the slippery surface but often a bit too quickly for some players who found it past them before they got set to receive it. Alan Mathews deployed his team in a 4-1-3-2 formation with John Sullivan sitting in front of the Shels back four providing very effective additional support to his defence.
On the fourteen minute mark, Dundalk had a great opportunity to score the opener. Michael Rafter was able to run onto a flick on and he lifted the ball over the advancing Chris Bennion making his debut in the Shels goal. However, the ball fell agonizingly wide of the post from a Dundalk perspective. The next chance also fell to Rafter who was able to pick up a loose pass from Sullivan. This time however he pulled his shot well wide of the Dundalk goal.
A misplaced pass across the Dundalk penalty area allowed Kavanagh to test Cherrie in the goal. Cherrie dived to his right, conceding a corner. Kavanagh took the subsequent corner but Andy Boyle’s header for The Reds went over the bar. Shels won a free kick in a dangerous position next, a minute short of the half hour mark. Three Shels players stood over the ball. First Kavanagh and then Fitzgerald ran over the ball allowing Philly Hughes to hit it but he sent the ball over the bar.
Shelbourne took the lead a minute later with Philly Gorman starting and ending the goal scoring move. Gorman played in Hughes and his shot was saved by Cherrie. However the ball came out to the onrushing Gorman and the striker’s header beat Cherrie to find the back of the net.
Cherrie was certainly the busier keeper in the first half as Shels had the majority of possession forcing six corners in the opening period. Following a Cherrie save from Dawson from a ball from Shels captain David Cassidy, Cherrie needed the help of his full back Darren Walsh to clear Gorman’s header off the line from another Paddy Kavanagh corner.
With Dundalk trailing 1-0 at half time Sean McCaffrey decided to make two switches for the second half as he withdrew midfielders Stephen McDonnell and Robert Waters to bring on McLaughlin and Gareth Brady but the changes didn’t help the Lilywhites.
Shels extended their lead on 52 minutes. Gareth Matthews got down the right wing and hung in a very inviting cross that Gorman got his head onto to score. The Reds made it 3-0 ten minutes later as Dawson outpaced Liam Burns to get into the box and his low shot beat Cherrie with ease. Dundalk did have two chances in between these goals with a Mark Griffin header saved by Bennion and a free-kick from Brady that Shels cleared. Dundalk then saw a chance of their own cleared off the line on 68 minutes.
A Dundalk player did get on the score sheet on 71 minutes but only when McLaughlin put the ball into his own net to make it 4-0 to Shelbourne. Dawson received the plaudits from his team mates as it was his rifled shot that McLaughlin trying to clear drilled the ball into the bottom of the Dundalk net with Cherrie looking on helplessly. From a Hughes shot minutes later, Cherrie was lucky the ball stuck under his feet and didn’t squeeze by him on the slippery pitch. The defeat on the pitch ends a difficult week for Dundalk off pitch with Shels getting their first win since the return from the mid-season break.
Shelbourne: Chris Bennion; Gareth Matthews, Andy Boyle, Stephen Hurley, Lorcan Fitzgerald; John O’Sullivan (Paul Byrne 82); David Cassidy (Conan Byrne 75), Kevin Dawson, Paddy Kavanagh (Brendan McGill 65); Philip Gorman, Philly Hughes.
Subs Not Used: Paul Skinner, Ian Ryan, Sean Byrne, Brian Shortall.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Paul Walsh, Derek Foran, Liam Burns, Eoghan Osbourne; John Mountney, Chris Shields, Stephen McDonnell (Ben McLaughlin 46), Robert Waters (Gary Brady 46); Michael Rafter (Chris Reilly 67), Mark Griffin.
Subs not used: Finian Farrelly, Dan Cunningham, Peter Thomas, Gary Shanahan.
Yellow Cards: McDonnell (16), Griffin (84).
Referee: Alan Kelly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Philly Gorman (Shelbourne).