Shelbourne produced the performance their fans had been yearning for as they beat Limerick 2-0 at Tolka Park this evening.
It was a very dominant victory and the home side could have had more it not been for the sensational Jack Brady.
A goal from Karl Moore and a penalty from Lorcan Fitzgerald, both coming in the first half, was the difference between the sides.
It was an important game tonight in Tolka Park with only two points separating the two teams in a very tightly grouped league table.
Shels made two changes to the starting team which drew 0-0 away to Drogheda last Friday.
Aidan Friel and Alex O’Hanlon came in for the injured duo of John Ross Wilson and Greg Moorehouse. Ciarán Kilduff also returned to the bench.
Limerick came into the game sitting nicely in third place in the league with Shelbourne being the first in a run of three tough games.
The men from the west made no changes from their disappointing 1-1 draw away to Wexford last Friday.
It was an utterly dominant first half for Shelbourne who ran riot down the right flank.
James English should have put the hosts ahead after three minutes when the ball was crossed in and fell to him unmarked and only two yards from goal.
He controlled the ball well and the crowd were celebrating but somehow Limerick keeper Jack Brady made himself big enough to smother the shot from English and save his defender’s blushes.
There was a ref substitution after 14 minutes with Andrew Mullally being replaced by 4th official Gavin Colfer.
Shelbourne continued to dominate and Ryan Brennan should have scored when again the Limerick defenders missed the ball and it fell to Brennan two yards out and unmarked.
Again Brady was able to make the save but Brennan’s shot had probably made it too easy for him.
Soon after there was a big penalty appeal as James English skipped past Darren Murphy who stuck out a leg. English went down but the ref waved him to get up and gave him a yellow for diving.
Darren Murphy was having a torrid day at left-back and was hauled off on 28 minutes to be replaced by Aaron Fitzgerald. However, the visitor’s fortunes did not improve.
Brady had to make another great save when after James English pulled the ball back to Aidan Friel on the edge of the box. The right back’s shot was heading to the top corner before Brady intervened and once again saved his team.
Ryan Brennan must have thought he was going to score when Brady came out of his box to head the ball away. It fell to Brennan who shot from 40 yards. Aaron Fitzgerald made an incredible goal line header to put the ball over the bar, injuring himself in the process.
Shels finally had their breakthrough in the 38th minute. Karl Moore tapped in from two yards after Aidan Friel had played in a nice cross across the face of the goal.
Shels got a second before half time when Lorcan Fitzgerald smashed a penalty down the middle as Brady dived the wrong way.
James English won the penalty and it was just reward for the man who was terrorising the Limerick defence. Having said that it looked like a soft penalty and nothing more than shoulder to shoulder contact.
Karl Moore nearly got his second after he latched onto a James English cross. Brady had to dive at full stretch to keep Moore’s well placed header out.
Brady made possibly his finest save of the night to deny Ryan Brennan. Brady’s reactions were incredible as he dived to punch away Brennan’s acrobatic scissors kick.
Brennan had yet another chance when he latched onto a Karl Moore cross. He headed back across goal but was denied by the bottom of the post.
Brady again produced a wonder save after substitute Darragh Noone’s curling effort was top corner bound. Brady somehow leaped high enough and tipped it over the bar.
It was a very entertaining game if you were a Shels fan but dreadful for any Limerick supporter as their team failed to create a single decent chance.
Ian Morris talked earlier in the week about his team getting better and better and you got the sense that this performance was coming. It could be the start of something brilliant.
Shelbourne: Colin McCabe, Aidan Friel, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Luke Byrne, Derek Prendergast, Ryan Brennan (Ciarán Kilduff 85), Oscar Brennan, Daniel McKenna, Karl Moore (Darragh Noone 85), Alex O’Hanlon (Dayle Rooney 88), James English.
Subs not used: Dean Delany, Daniel Byrne, Sean Quinn, Flavio Marku.
Booked: James English.
Sent off: None.
Limerick: Jack Brady, Shane Tracy, Shaun Kelly, Killian Brouder, Robbie Williams, Colm Walsh O’Loughlen, Karl O’Sullivan (Kieran Hanlon 58), Darren Murphy (Aaron Fitzgerald 28), Jason Hughes (Lee Devitt 77), Sean McSweeney, Shane Tracy.
Subs not used: Callan Scully, Thomas O’Connor, Gerard Barry, Adam Foley.
Booked: Shaun Kelly.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Andrew Mullally
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Jack Brady.