Brendan Graham reports from Tolka Park
Shelbourne coasted to an easy 4-0 FAI Cup victory against Athlone Town with a first half own goal setting them along their way at Tolka Park before they added three in the second half.
The home side were heavy favourites before the evening’s fixture but in the opening half it was tough to tell the difference between the favourites and underdogs with Athlone Town giving a very good account of themselves.
Owen Heary’s side did find themselves with most of the possession in the opening stages but were finding it tough going to create any chances worth talking about.
Most of their early play was down the left wing with the trio of Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh and Adam Evans linking up well as they tried to find an opening.
Greg Moorhouse and Derek Prendergast both had decent chances midway through the first half both finding themselves with free headers in the box but neither could keep them on target heading just over the crossbar which relieved the pressure on Darcy Lawless in the Athlone goal.
The visitors were holding their own in the game although not seeing much of the ball. They seemed happy enough to sit back and defend and limit Shels to shots from distance as the half wore on.
A heavy challenge on right back Nathan Doyle in the corner left the player requiring treatment and gave the players a brief water break before they entered the final ten minutes of the half. Doyle tried to shake it off and came back on for two minutes but then found himself substituted for Shane Stokes.
The breakthrough came five minutes from the break and Shels took the lead at the expense of Athlone midfielder Nika Kalandarishvili. A Kavanagh cross swung into the box caused mayhem and found the unfortunate knee of Kalandarishvilli before trickling into the net.
Kavanagh, recently signed from Bohs, came out in the second half a lot more lively than he was in the first and was unlucky not to help Shels add to their tally early in the second half. The midfielder weaved his way towards goal and into the box from the left but just lost his balance as he pulled back for the cross
It didn’t take him long to make up for it and he got his goal just after the hour mark when a cross to his feet allowed him to tap home.
The build up to the goal came down the left when Adam Evans and Karl Moore linked up well down the left wing. Moore took the ball to the goal line before finding Kavanagh all alone in the box to tap past Lawless and put the home side two goals to the good.
A trademark Prendergast header at the back post almost had Shels three in front when his effort thundered off the bar but out for a goal kick.
Number three wasn’t long arriving though and the Reds put the game to bed with five minutes remaining. Moorhouse calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner with Dayle Rooney playing the role of provider on this occasion.
Fitzgerald got the fourth of the night with two minutes left on the clock jinking into the box and around Victor Ekanem and side footing the ball past Lawless with an ice cool finish to give Shelbourne an easy 4-0 victory on the night.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, John Ross Wilson, Lorcan Fiztgerald, Derek Prendergast, Aidan Collins (Reece McEnteer 84) , Alan Byrne, Adam Evans (Dayle Rooney 75), Patrick Kavanagh (Shane Farrell 78), Karl Moore, Greg Moorhouse, James English.
Subs not Used: James O’Brien, Cian Kavanagh, David O’Sullivan, Lee Steacy.
Booked: Greg Moorhouse (90+2).
Athlone Town: Darcy Lawless, Aaron Brilly, Victor Ekanem, Steven Grogan (Ollie Hamzet 73), Baba Issaka, Ian Fletcher, Josh Hogan, Nathan Doyle (Shane Stokes 36), Nika Kalandarishvili, George Mukete, Rory McCullough (Kyle Hogan 65)
Subs not Used: Dan O’Donovan, Ciaran Byrne, Rob O’Leary, Michael Fogarty
Referee: Adriano Reale
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Paddy Kavanagh (Shelbourne)
Full-time: Shels 4-0 Athlone. The Reds are in the pot for the second round of the FAI Cup. Next up is Wexford away on Friday, August 17. pic.twitter.com/z7OSwXi5A0— Shelbourne FC (@shelsfc) August 10, 2018