Shelbourne moved top of the First Division with a 2-0 win over Galway United in front of a healthy crowd in Tolka Park this evening.
Alan Byrne and David O'Sullivan scored for the Reds as the latter moved one clear of Galway's Danny Furlong at the summit of the goalscoring charts.
It took just three-and-a-half minutes for the first chance, which fell to the home side. Sharpshooter O’Sullivan was gifted possession of the ball by Gary Shanahan right in front of goal.
A toe-poke by O’Sullivan gave Tadhg Ryan an early test in the Galway goal but he got down well to palm the ball away and out for a corner.
Shelbourne settled into the game a lot quicker than the away side and James Brown was next to go close with a shot close to goal, just clearing the near post after a neat through ball from the right by James English.
Galway were living dangerously in the early stages with the impressive English causing early problems down the right
Galway found themselves limited to a shot or two from distance in the opening stages and the home defence dealt with any pressure that came their way relatively easily.
Their first real chance came after 23 minutes with a free kick from Stephen Kenny right into the box but Dean Delany fisted the ball away to relieve the pressure straight away.
James English was enjoying his first half down the right and getting real space to roam forward. An early cross into the box found Gavin Boyne, who should have done better from so close to goal.
Shels were getting closer and closer to the opening goal and on the half-hour mark had another great chance from a Lorcan Fitzgerald corner kick.
A perfectly weighted ball high into the box had Ryan jumping on his own to collect the ball but the keeper, with all the time in the world, nervously flapped at the cross and dropped the ball between Aidan Collins and English.
Neither player was expecting the mistake from the keeper and Galway were let off the hook again.
The Galway United strikers were fairly starved of any service in the opening half, but Furlong doesn’t need to be asked twice when provided with any chance in front of goal.
A quick Conor Melody cross from the right flashed across the box and onto the toe of Furlong but he couldn’t control it and Collins was left to clear.
The opening goal of the game came three minutes before the break and it deservedly came the way of the home side.
Shelbourne were rewarded for their tireless work and possession in the opening half and opened the scoring through midfielder Byrne.
Another fine set piece from Fitzerald was planted straight onto the head of Byrne, who sent a powerful header past Ryan in the goal and it was no less than Owen Heary's men deserved going in at half time.
The second half began with early exchanges for both sides, one each for English and Stephen Kenny but nothing to really trouble either keeper too much.
Galway were struggling to deal with the set-pieces and the high ball from Shelbourne and a deep corner from Fitzgerald found English at the back post. The ball deflected off his knee and then off Ryan but luckily away from danger and clear of the goal.
Some neat footwork from Galway substitute Carlton Ubaezuonu in the middle of the field saw him beat Byrne and then O’Brien before teeing up Melody for a shot at goal which was palmed away by Delaney and out for a Galway corner. It was a welcome chance for the away side as they looked to get back into the game.
With 15 minutes eft, and having survived a short spell of pressure from Galway as they looked to get back into the game, Shelbourne scored their second of the night as O’Sullivan got his tenth goal of the season.
As was the case for most of the night, it was a failure to deal with a set piece that led to to the goal, and O’Sullivan bundled the ball over the line having found himself with the ball at his feet to tap home and put the game out of reach for the away side.
Galway had late chances through Ubaezuonu and Ryan Connolly but it was the home side who head into the weekend with three points and another home win.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney; James Brown, Derek Prendergast, Aidan Collins (Dave Mulcahy 88), Lorcan Fiztgerald; James O’Brien, Gavin Boyne, Alan Byrne; Adam Evans, James English, David O’Sullivan.
Subs not used: Reece Mcenteer, Cian Kavanagh, Dylan Grimes, Dayle Rooney, Shane Farrell, Lee Steacy.
Booked: David O’Sullivan (53), Derek Prendergast (70), James O’Brien (82), Gavin Boyne (82).
Galway United: Tadhg Ryan; Marc Ludden, Stephen Walsh, Robbie Williams; Alex Byrne (Alan Murphy 87), Ryan Connolly, Stephen Kenny (Carlton Ubaezuonu 58), Conor Melody (Conor Barry 83), Gary Shanahan; Danny Furlong, Eoin McCormack.
Subs not Used: Maurice Nugent, Adam Rooney, Conor Laying, Conor Gleeson.
Booked: Ryan Connolly (77).
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: James English (Shelbourne).