Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers ended with a share of the spoils at Tolka Park on Sunday afternoon, playing out a 0-0 draw at Tolka Park.
Rovers were hotly fancied to win, but Shels were arguably the better side. The Hoops struggled break down their hosts, even after moving to a four-man attack in the later stages.
Young goalkeeper Niall Burdon was the standout performer, earning plaudits on a day in which he produced a string of excellent saves to deny Rovers.
A mix-up between Ken Oman and Barry Murphy almost cost the Hoops early on, when a back pass from the former nearly let Dean Kelly round the Rovers keeper. Shels had two more clear chances within the opening fifteen minutes, but failed to make any of them count.
Both Dean Kelly's far-post header and Sean Brennan's low shot on the edge of the Rovers box looked promising for the Reds, but neither could find the target.
Gradually the visitors came into the match, with Niall Burdon in great form to deny Shane Robinson, Ciaran Kilduff and Ronan Finn. The Shelbourne back four had to resort to last-ditch tackles on a few occasions, but Rovers had no clear goalscoring chances - despite dominating possession.
Rovers sustained their dominance over the break- with Shels forced into three haphazard clearances in the opening minutes. Shelbourne did look capable of counter-attacking at times, but weren't able to finish off their chances.
On 66 minutes they did force a goal line clearance out of Pat Sullivan, but the home side were still unable to capitalise.
The Hoops moved to a more attacking formation by bringing on Billy Dennehy and Mark Quigley but still only managed a handful of shots.
Shels substitute Mark Leech was played through on goal after 77 minutes after a lovely exchange with Philly Hughes , but shot over the bar. Niall Burdon produced a superb double save with six minutes left to deny two Karl Sheppard shots - proving his worth under the eye of Ireland under-21 manager Noel KIng.
Gary McCabe dragged a shot just wide on 86 minutes, but the Hoops still struggled to break Shels down. Into added time Trevor Croly's charges pushed for a winner, with Karl Sheppard heading wide at the far post in the dying second. Ultimately, though, the match ended as it started.
Shelbourne: Niall Burdon; Robert Cornwall, Ian Ryan (c), Brian Shortall, Jack Memery; Adam Hanlon (Alex Prizeman 82), Robert Bayly, Stephen Hurley (Pat Flynn 85), Sean Brennan (Mark Leech 56); Philly Hughes, Dean Kelly.
Subs Not Used: Eoin Comerford, Craig Mooney, Adam O'Connor, Stephen Sheerin.
Bookings: Robert Bayly.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Conor McCormack, Pat Sullivan (c), Ken Oman, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe, Ronan Finn, James Chambers, Shane Robinson (Mark Quigley 61), Sean O'Connor (Billy Dennehy 7); Ciaran Kilduff (Karl Sheppard 78).
Subs Not Used: Richard Brush, Danny Ledwith, Stephen Rice, Tommy Stewart.
Referee: Alan Kelly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Niall Burdon (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.