Dundalk sealed an FAI Cup semi-final berth following a five star performance against Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Friday evening.
All of the visitors five goals came in the opening 45 minutes as a brace from Richie Towell, a tidy finish from Patrick Hoban, a headed goal from Andy Boyle and a truly excellent strike from Kurtis Byrne gave the Lilywhites a 5-0 half-time lead however Lee Murtagh got a consolation for Shels just after the break.
It was Dundalk who started the brightest and the excellent Richie Towell almost in the opening 10 minutes when a good move from the visitors resulted in Darren Meenan finding Towell but he shot just wide of Niall Burdon’s post.
It wasn’t long until Towell found the net when a good cross from Meenan found Towell who played it to John Dillon. He returned the ball to the former Celtic starlet and he found Burdon’s top corner.
Dundalk could have went 2-0 up when Meenan’s mazy run was followed by a good shot but it was saved by Burdon. From the resultant corner, the Lilywhites grabbed a second. A great corner from Meenan found the unmarked Andy Boyle who found the net for his second goal against Shelbourne this season.
Dean Kelly then had two quickfire chances to get the hosts back into the game. Adam Hanlon produced a wonderful cross but the striker’s header was straight at Peter Cherrie and then the former Shamrock Rovers player shot wide from just inside the box.
Patrick Hoban shot over the bar following a good ball from Dillon however he was to add to the scoresheet on 32 minutes. A great run from the impressive Towell broke through the defence and with just the goalkeeper to beat, he cleverly layed the ball off to the former Mervue United man and he confidently finished to the net.
Dundalk were in total control and almost added a fourth when Meenan had another effort saved by Burdon but moments before half-time, Kurtis Byrne notched a contender for goal of the season.
After a poor pass from Ian Ryan, the ball fell to Byrne on the halfway line. He spotted Burdon out of his goal and brilliantly shot to the net. A wonderful effort.
Towell grabbed his second just before the break when almost from the kick-off, Sullivan crossed for the 22 year-old and he headed to the net.
That left Dundalk 5-0 up at the break as some home supporters headed for the exit.
The second half began in the same style as the first however it was Shelbourne who got a goal back on 48 minutes. A good ball from Sean Brennan found Lee Murtagh and he shot past Cherrie from just outside the box.
Hoban shot wide of the box from outside the box for Dundalk and had an acrobatic effort go just over the bar but it was the hosts who looked like adding to their tally.
A goalmouth scramble with 15 minutes to go seen Brennan’s shot cleared off the line from Chris Shields and from the following corner, substitute Darren Tinnelly forced an outstanding save from Cherrie.
That was to be the last meaningful action of the half as Dundalk protected their lead and advance to the last four following an impressive first half display.
Shelbourne: Niall Burdon; Brian Gannon, Graham Gartland, Ian Ryan, Pat Flynn; Adam Hanlon, Glenn Cronin (c), Robert Bayly (Stephen Sheerin 70), Sean Brennan; Dean Kelly (Darren Tinnelly 70), Lee Murtagh (Carl Walshe 87).
Subs not used: Charlie Tracey, Stephen Hurley, Adam O’Connor, Paul Andrews.
Booked: Bayly (22), Kelly (37).
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; John Sullivan, Andy Boyle, Brian Gartland, Mark Rossiter (c); John Dillon, Richie Towell (John Mountney 46), Chris Shields, Darren Meenan; Kurtis Byrne (Jordan Keegan 81), Patrick Hoban (Vinny Faherty 70).
Subs not used: Tiarnan Mulvenna, Simon Kelly, Nathan Murphy, Aaron Shanahan (GK).
Booked: Shields (11), Mountney (55).
Referee: Padraigh Sutton.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Darren Meenan (Dundalk).