Shelbourne stunned Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers on Friday night with a 2-1 win, knocking the 2010 FAI cup finalists out of this year's competition at the quarter final stage. A Philly Hughes brace gave Shels an unlikely victory against a wasteful Rovers side, whose only goal came late on through Sean Gannon.
In the first chance of the game, Shamrock Rovers forward Ciaran Kilduff shot wide whilst right in front of goal after seven minutes to set the tone for a frustrating evening for the Rovers faithful. They could have taken the lead on several occasions, with Tommy Stewart going close with a header on 13 minutes only to be denied by Chris Bennion's reflex save.
But for all their good play, Rovers just couldn't finish any of their moves. In contrast, once Shels began to control the game after around 20 minutes, they never let up. Philly Hughes shot just wide a minute before the Shels targetman broke the deadlock.
David Cassidy robbed the ball on the break and found himself and Hughes outnumbering the lone Rovers defender. The Shels captain's precise through ball found Hughes with plenty of space and time for an easy finish past the stranded Oscar Jansson.
Jansson pulled off a terrific save moments later to prevent a second Shels goal though. Stephen Paisley caught the ball well from a corner, and it Jansson somehow managed to push it over the bar. Hughes was clean through on goal on 42 minutes when Ken Oman hauled him down, forcing Alan Kelly to send him off.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Rovers started the second half better, with Tommy Stewart shooting just over on 49 minutes. They still found going tough against a dogged Shels defence though, with Stewart missing two further chances before Hughes popped up again on 71 minutes to double the lead.
Paddy Kavanagh did well to make space for himself down the right before crossing. Hughes, at the far post, got up and headed in well for his 16th goal of the season. Paul Byrne and David Cassidy both had chances after the goal, but Rovers made a late attempt to salvage something- leading to a nervy finish in Tolka Park.
Conor McCormack missed a clear opportunity on 83 minutes at the far post and not long later Killian Brennan's free deflected over the bar. Late into time added on at the end, Rovers managed to claw back a goal through a calamity of errors in the Shels defence.
Sean Gannon's free-kick from 30 yards out on the left looked harmless as it came into the Reds box, but every Shels defender left the ball before it flew past Chris Bennion. It was too late though and Shels march on to the semi-final.
Shelbourne: Chris Bennion; Ian Ryan, Stephen Paisley, Andy Boyle, Sean Byrne; Paddy Kavanagh, Glenn Cronin, Kevin Dawson, David Cassidy; Philip Hughes (Anto Murphy 85) Philip Gorman (Paul Byrne 55).
Subs Not Used: Paul Skinner, Brian Shortall, Conan Byrne, Stephen Hurley, Barry Clancy.
Shamrock Rovers: Oscar Jansson; Kerrea Gilbert, Pat Sullivan, Ken Oman, Shane O'Connor; Gary McCabe (Conor McCormack 46), Ronan Finn, Stephen Rice (Sean Gannon 46), Killian Brennan; Thomas Stewart (Daryl Kavanagh 75), Ciaran Kilduff.
Subs Not Used: Reyaad Pieterse, Billy Dennehy, Aaron Greene.
Referee: Alan Kelly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Philly Hughes (Shelbourne).
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.