Late goals from Stephen O’Donnell and John Mountney condemned 10 man Shelbourne to their second league defeat of the season. The goals were just reward for a Dundalk side who outplayed their opponents for large periods of the game.
The vital goal came on 87 minutes when substitute Darren Meenan flicked John Sullivan’s cross onto the head of O’Donnell who looped his header over the keeper from seven yards.
The visitors began the brighter and went close on seven minutes when John Dillon’s angled ball found the lively Patrick Hoban behind the Shels defence. Hoban shot across the goal but his effort went wide of Niall Burdon’s left hand post.
The Lilywhites dominated possession for the majority of the half without creating many clear cut chances.
Stephen Kenny’s men were almost rewarded on 35 minutes when the impressive John Dillon made ground up the right before his looping cross found Kurtis Byrne at the back post, his volley was well saved low to his left by Burdon.
Shels took the lead against the run of play on 43 minutes. Moments after Sean Brennan had nearly played in Philly Hughes, the ball found its way back to Mark Leech on the right. His cross found the head of Dean Kelly who made no mistake from six yards.
Shelbourne looked to build on their advantage early in the second half with Hughes firing over after 30 seconds. Seven minutes later Adam Hanlon was the benefactor of some poor Dundalk passing before finding Hughes whose shot was tipped over by Peter Cherrie.
The visitors seized the initiative two minutes later when Keith Ward sprinted clear on the left hand side before being tripped by Ian Ryan after cutting into the box. Anthony Buttimer pointed to the spot and Dillon dispatched it down the middle to draw the game level.
With parity restored the teams reverted back to the cagey play which had been prevalent in the first period. Substitutes Vinny Faherty and Darren Meenan were introduced in an attempt to re-energise the visitors
On 79 minutes Richie Towell crashed a right foot shot off the crossbar from 18 yards out.
The rising intensity of the game was symbolized by the three yellow cards picked up by the home side in a short space of time. One of these became a red when captain Graham Gartland was shown a second yellow for a foul on Stephen O’Donnell. For the second game running Shels were to finish the game down a number.
The numerical advantage was to prove crucial as the visitors attacked in search of the winning goal. With three minutes remaining that goal came, before the victory was secured in the 93rd minute when substitute John Mountney capitalized on an error for Ryan to race clear and slot the ball past Burdon.
Shelbourne: Niall Burdon; Rob Cornwall, Graham Gartland (c), Ian Ryan, Brian Shortall (Philip McCabe 84); Adam Hanlon, Robert Bayly, Sean Brennan (Stephen Hurley 67), Dean Kelly (Craig Mooney 75); Philip Hughes, Mark Leech.
Subs not used: Eoin Comerford(GK), Adam O’Connor, Stephen Sheerin, Alex Prizeman
Booked: Ryan (54), Gartland (69), Shortall (72).
Sent Off: Gartland (83).
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; John Sullivan, Andy Boyle, Mark Rossiter, Eoghan Osbourne; John Dillon (John Mountey 76), Stephen O’Donnell (c), Keith Ward (Darren Meenan 69), Richie Towell; Kurtis Byrne, Patrick Hoban (Vinny Faherty 65).
Subs not used: Chris Shields, Tiernan Mulvenna, Stephen McDonnell, Aaron Shanahan(GK).
Booked: O’Donnell (30), Dillon (35), Hoban (39).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Extratime Man of the Match: John Dillon (Dundalk).