Dean Kelly 4' -
An early headed goal from Dean Kelly was enough to see Shelbourne through to the Quarter-Finals of the FAI Cup as they saw off the spirited challenge of College Corinthians at Tolka Park on Friday night.
If Corinthians came into this game worried that their lack of match fitness might prove an impediment, then it took just five minutes for their fears to be realised as Sean Brennan swung in a corner that Dean Kelly was quickest to reach, glancing his header beyond Mark Power from close range.
The Munster Senior League outfit have yet to play a competitive game in their winter season and they sometimes looked slow in the early stages against a Shelbourne side that were lining out for their 31st game in what has often been a difficult season.
But the visitors almost fashioned an instant response when David Welch was fed by the impressive Peter Moreland and his shot was only held by Niall Burdon in the Shels goal at the second attempt. In truth the Cork side did well enough against their more illustrious opponents and might have caused more problems had they been more effective from a series of free kicks.
Shels, though, grew into the game more as it went on, Sean Brennan having a decent shout for a penalty when he appeared to be upended in the Corinthians area on 24 minutes and Dean Kelly coming close ten minutes later. Rob Cornwall and Adam Hanlon also had attempts on goal but none troubled Power in the Corinthians goal and the Cork side went in at the break just one goal behind.
Shelbourne upped the pace after the restart with Hanlon looking particularly keen to run at the visitors and in tandem with Dean Kelly’s intelligent play Shels fashioned a series of early attacks. Kelly drove into the Corinthians box on 53 minutes only to shoot well wide while Sean Brennan forced a sharp save from Power a minute later.
On the hour mark Brennan capped a superb move by firing inches wide and it looked then like Corinthians were done. But they dug deep to create a convincing response just at the point when a team without any game time under their belts should have been wilting.
Led by the tireless David Welch, Corinthians worked hard to generate some openings of their own and a loopy header from Welch was easily saved by Burdon on 63 minutes while the same player scuttled a shot wide three minutes later.
Shelbourne might have wrapped things up with fifteen minutes left when Hanlon rescued a mishit through ball and cut a cross back from the by-line. Substitute Darren Tinnelly met it with his forehead but Power managed to tip his effort onto the crossbar before finally scooping the rebound out for a corner.
Moments later Corinthians worked their best chance of the game when Moreland played a ball in to Luke Connolly’s feet and the striker’s lay-off found Welch who blasted a low shot wide from eight yards out.
Corinthians continued to look for a late leveller until the final whistle but they didn’t quite have the nous to unlock a determined Shelbourne back line and the Cork side will turn their attention to the upcoming Munster Senior League season while Johnny McDonnell’s men look forward to the draw for the Quarter-Finals.
Shelbourne: Niall Burdon; Robert Cornwall, Paul Andrews, Ian Ryan, Pat Flynn; Adam Hanlon, Glenn Cronin (Stephen Sheerin 70), Stephen Hurley, Sean Brennan (Darren Tinnelly 54); Lee Murtagh, Dean Kelly.
Subs not used: Charlie Treacy (gk), Jake Donnelly, Carl Walshe, Dylan Connolly, Suen Biansumba.
Booked: Andrews (30).
College Corinthians: Mark Power; Richard Cronin, Josh Kra, Colin O’Shea, Robbie Brohan; Peter Moreland, Chris Madden (Sebastien Stihler 68), Ricky O’Sullivan, Edwin Buckley (Evan Browne 81); David Welch, Luke Connolly.
Subs not used: Rory O’Neill (gk), Fergus McDonald, Rufus Holmes.
Booked: Brohan (46), Buckley (68), O’Shea (81).
Referee: Rob Rogers.
Extratime Man of the Match: Dean Kelly (Shelbourne).