By Brendan Graham reporting from Tolka Park
A David O’Sullivan hat-trick saw Shelbourne overcome nine man Longford Town on Friday evening in Tolka Park.
Longford Town were quickest to settle and the first chance of the game fell to the in form striker Chris Mulhall who got on the end of a ball through the middle by Dean Zambra forcing Dean Delaney to palm the ball out for the first corner of the game.
The deadlock was broken after just thirteen minutes as Shelbourne converted a penalty through David O’Sullivan, a weak back pass by Michael O’Connor led to Dean Zambra conceding a foul.
The lead didn’t last long though as Longford Town equalised through Sam Verdon’s low drilled shot that whistled past Delaney.
After a frantic opening half an hour the game then settled down for the rest of the half with Dylan McGlade replacing Darren Meenan for Longford Town, a substitution Neale Fenn would not have wanted to make so early in the game.
An evenly matched first 45 minutes drew to a close with efforts for substitute McGlade and O’Sullivan with both efforts from outside the box not troubling either goalkeeper.
The first chance of the second half fell to Adam Evans. The Shelbourne winger should have done better finding himself all alone in the box but he dwelled on the ball for far too long giving Kelly an easy save in the end.
Substitute James English then almost had an immediate impact for the home side shooting narrowly wide after a neat one two with Dayle Rooney down the right
Both sides were playing some lovely football around the middle of the park and trying their best to keep the ball on the deck as much as possible as well.
Shelbourne then took the lead on the 70th minute and it was that man David O’Sullivan again scoring his second of the game, getting in front of Shane Elworthy from a cross on the left and blasting past Kelly in the Longford Town goal.
The game saw its first nasty streak when Longford Town winger McGlade struck out in frustration at James Brown. Straight red card for Longford was the less than favourable outcome for the away team.
The red card didn’t seem to affect Longford when Sam Verdon equalised not long after against the run of play hitting a powerful shot straight past a large group of players in the box to leave the game at 2-2 heading into the final ten minutes.
The second half madness started again in the final minutes of the game when Town defender Adam O’Connor pulled down Dylan Grimes in the box and a penalty was given immediately giving O’Sullivan his hat –trick chance.
The former Longford player duly obliged to take home the match ball and give the home side a sweet 3-2 victory and a happy start to the bank holiday weekend for the Shelbourne.
To make matters worse for the visitors, Verdon was sent off just prior to the penalty being taken for protesting against the penalty decision.
Shelboune: Dean Delaney; James Brown, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, James O’Brien, Adam Evans, Dylan Grimes, Jamie Doyle (James English 55), David O’Sullivan, Dayle Rooney
Subs not used: Shane Farrell, Cian Kavanagh, Aaron Molloy, Dave Mulcahy, Lee Steacy
Red Cards: None
Longford Town: Michael Kelly; Shane Elworthy, Shane O’Connor, Andy O’Connor, Daniel O’Reilly,Peter Hopkins, Dean Zambra, Sam Verdon, Michael McDonnell, Darren Meenan(Dylan McGlade 35), Chris Mulhall
Subs not used: Aodh Dervin, Karl Chambers, Cian Byrne, Jack Brady, Tristan Noack Hofmann
Booked: Sam Verdon (32) (90+2)
Red Cards: Dylan McGlade (81), Sam Verdon (90+2)
Referee: David Keeler
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: David O’Sullivan