Brendan Graham reports from Tolka Park
A hat-trick from debutant Karl Moore gave Shelbourne a 6-1 victory over Longford Town and a crucial three points in the race for promotion at Tolka Park.
James English had the first chance of the game for the home side but it was one of just a few chances they managed to create in the opening half with Longford having the better of the first half overall.
John Ross Wilson was the provider for English with a cross into the box after wonderful individual run down the right straight His centre found the head of English who glanced his header just wide of the post.
A bright start for Owen Heary’s side but the early scare gave Longford the impetus they needed as they settled well into the game from then on creating a number of chances which fell the way of former Shels player Jamie Doyle.
A sustained spell of pressure by Longford in the opening half led to Doyle having two good chances with Dean Delaney quick out of his box to deny Doyle from a one on one.
Moments later and Doyle was in again, this time coming in from the right before snapping a shot at goal but it inched wide of Delaney’s near post.
Dylan McGlade was causing trouble down the left for Longford Town and was their best player of the opening half with the Shelbourne rear guard struggling to keep track of the pacy winger.
Against the run of play though Shelbourne took the lead on 33 minutes through stalwart Dave Mulcahy. Not for the first time this season a perfectly weighted set piece from Lorcan Fitzgerald found the head of Mulcahy to steer the ball home from close range.
The goal seemed to unsettle Longford a bit in the following minutes as their passages of play that were coming off so well before that just weren’t coming off for them.
Sam Verdon had a late chance for the away side before half time snapping a shot past Delaney’s left hand side but it inched wide.
With Galway only a few points behind both sides in the race for a play – off spot and only five games left in the season, three points for either side would be vital as the games get ticked off.
It took Longford just three minutes of the second half to get themselves level through Sam Verdon who tapped home from close range from a corner.
Verdon and English exchanged chances but it wasn’t long before the game turned into the Karl Moore show.
He got his first of three on the night with 20 minutes to go. Not a bad debut for the Shels winger.
Dave O’Sullivan got Shelbourne’s third of the night. A goal which caused a lot of anger on the Longford bench.
Karl Moore’s through ball for O’Sullivan came off the referee on its way through to O’Sullivan but the play was let go on and the Shelbourne striker slotted home calmly to put the game to bed.
A nightmare few minutes for Longford Town saw assistant manager Daire Doyle sent to the stands and Jamie Doyle given a straight red card for dissent after conceding a foul.
Shelbourne took full advantage of the extra man and in the closing ten minutes Moore got his second and third before a James English penalty gave Shelbourne a 6-1 victory over their promotion rivals Longford Town and a vital three points with just five games in the season remaining.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, John Ross Wilson, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Aidan Collins ( Reece McEnteer 60), Dave Mulcahy, Mark Huges, Adam Evans, Karl Moore, Gavin Boyne (James O’Brien 83), James English, David O’Sullivan (Greg MooreHhouse 82)
Subs not Used: Lee Steacy, Cian Kavanagh, Shane Farrell, Dayle Rooney
Longford Town: Michael Kelly, Shane Elworthy, Tristan Noack – Hofmann, Daniel O’ Reilly, Jamie Doyle, Michael McDonnell, Aodh Dervin, Jamie Hollywood (Dean Dillon 81), Dylan McGlade, Sam Verdon (Eoin O’Neill 86), Karl Chambers (Darren Meenan 81)
Subs not Used: Ben Kelly, Evan O’Connor, Dean Zambra, Warren Mitchell,
Referee: John McLoughlin
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Karl Moore (Shelbourne)