Jordan Keegan 16' -
A first half goal from Jordan Keegan in Tolka Park on Friday helped Shelbourne into the third round of the FAI Cup at the expense of fellow First Division side Waterford United. The visitors came into the game with three wins from their last four league games but couldn’t get a win in the cup against the First Division league leaders, 34 years after they last lifted the trophy.
Shelbourne were smarting from last week’s first home defeat of the season but it wasn’t long before there were smiles on the faces of the Shelbourne faithful as they put that loss to Galway behind them. Keegan’s fine finish in the 16th minute gave the 493 people in the crowd the only goal of the game. Conor Murphy had done well on the right hand side of the Waterford box. His pass picked out Keegan, who cut inside and curled his shot beautifully into the top corner of the net off his left foot.
Tommy Griffin made six changes to his team that had got a late winner in Tallaght Stadium in the First Division last Tuesday. The Blues were fortuitous in that game and Griffin switched from 4-4-2 to a five man midfield with Griffin dropping four of his starting line up from that match against Rovers B, and the team were better for it. The only other substitute on the bench was goalkeeper Matthew Connor who made it to Tolka fresh from his Leaving Cert Maths exam earlier in the day.
His teammate Jack Doherty was busy putting Shelbourne’s defence under examination with a number of penetrating runs in the first half. As early as the third minute he was breaking by Shelbourne tackles on the edge of the box but his final touch wasn’t enough for him to get his side a goal.
With the World Cup in Brazil less than a week away, a minute before Shelbourne found the net, Doherty ran over the ball Pele style to try and get by Greg Murray in the Shelbourne goal but the ‘keeper’s left boot ended that audacious chance.
At the other end, there was a let off for the Blues when Philip Hand’s cross found Lee Murtagh in the box but he couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet to get a shot way. Just before the half hour mark, a timely block from Ryan Robinson, returning to Shels after his recent Ireland Under 19 appearances, prevented Doherty’s goal bound shot.
The visitors started the second half strongly. Doherty played in Paul Quilty who had the goal at his mercy but he couldn’t get a clean contact on the shot and Murray pushed the shot away. Kevin O’Connor got on the rebound and he overhit his cross for his teammates but almost caught out Murray as it dropped onto the Shels cross bar.
Dylan Connolly then got around the back of the Waterford defence showing a clean pair of heals to Conor Whittle. His shot with the outside of the boot was saved by the outstretched foot of Blues ‘keeper Burns. A minute before the hour mark, Burns was required to dive full length to push over Jake Donnelly’s powerful shot from outside the area.
The Blues created a couple more chances for Paul Quilty after that and the striker really should have scored, particularly from the opportunity on 64 minutes. When Whittle’s cross was headed by Philip Drohan into the path of Quilty, he rushed his shot and Murray was able to push it away.
Murtagh’s tracking back for Shelbourne snuffed out another Waterford chance. Kevin O’Connor’s pass gave Drohan a sight of goal but Murtagh’s timely touch took it away from Drohan as he was about to pull the trigger.
Tommy Griffin made a couple of switches to try and take the tie to a replay in the RSC. Thomas Whitty had two great chances in the last five minutes. His right foot shot flashed just wide and then in stoppage time facing the Shelbourne goal he blasted the ball over the bar, much to the relief of the home fans. That was the closest they came as Shels progressed past Waterford but only just.
Shelbourne: Greg Murray; Brian Gannon, Lee Desmond, Ryan Robinson, Philip Hand (Simon Dixon 78); Lee Murtagh, Keith Quinn, Jake Donnelly, Jordan Keegan (Gareth Coughlan 69), Dylan Connolly; Conor Murphy.
Subs Not Used: Charlie Treacy (gk), Stephen McDonnell, Lee Duffy, Stephen Sheerin, Michael Duffy.
Booked: Conor Murphy (28).
Waterford United: Kevin Burns; Conor Whittle, Gary Delaney, Paddy Barrett, Gavin O’Donavan; Jack Doherty, Vinny Sullivan, Kevin O'Connor; Thomas Croke, Philip Drohan (Thomas Whitty 77); Paul Quilty (Shaun Corcoran 89).
Subs not used: Matthew Connor, Brian Nolan, Willie John Kiely
Booked: Gavin O’Donovan (19).
Referee: Robert Harvey.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Jack Doherty (Waterford United).