Monaghan United shocked Shelbourne to take a 1-1 draw away from Tolka Park in a match the Mons could easily have won.
Karl Bermingham gave the away side the lead when he put the ball low past Dean Delany after 17 minutes, after the Shels defence allowed him to slip through.
Shelbourne had their chances in the first half, with Gareth Whelan going close with a header and Paul Shiels testing Darren Kelly with a long range effort after a driving run from midfield, both before the half hour mark.
The Monaghan defence of Conor McMahon, Anthony Costigan, Aidan Lynch and Brian Gartland were on top form to hold out against a Shelbourne side that continually pressed for an equaliser.
The away side had their chances too, with Karl Bermingham again trying his luck from an awkward angle to produce a save from Dean Delany in goal for Shelbourne.
But it was to remain 1-0 going into the half-time break as Shelbourne looked to make some changes. Philip Gorman and Marc Hughes were brought on to replace Dinny Corcoran and David Cassidy respectively.
Coming out from half-time, Shelbourne looked determined to equalise. The Reds surged forward, but several attacks in the early part of the second half failed to produce any goals.
Newly signed midfielder Eric Foley was unlucky to have his shot tipped over by Monaghan ‘keeper Darren Kelly in the 51st minute.
Philip Gorman and Marc Hughes both looked lively for Shels, with Gorman battling hard to retain possession for the home side, but Aidan Lynch and Anthony Costigan did their best to keep the forwards at bay.
In the 73rd minute, Marc Hughes shot just over from a yard out, only to see the offside flag go up.
The pressure on the Monaghan defence began to mount as Eric Foley and Paul Shiels both joined the Shels attack.
One of the major talking points of the match was in the 74th minute, as Barry Clancy was sent off for bringing Marc Hughes down on the edge of the penalty area. Eric Foley shot over the bar from the resulting free kick.
Just five minutes later, Monaghan goalkeeper Darren Kelly was yellow carded after he claimed the ball outside the penalty area.
Eric Foley stepped up to take the free kick which was awarded following Kelly’s card, and the ex-Sporting Fingal man smashed the ball home to equalise for Shelbourne.
Shelbourne then went in search of the winner, attempting to spread the ball wide and exploit the extra space left following Clancy’s dismissal.
David McGill and Marc Hughes both threatened the away side’s goal in the dying minutes of the match, but Monaghan proved to have just enough to hold out for a well-earned draw.
Both sides will now look to build on the result to further their own respective promotion ambitions.
Shelbourne have Wexford Youths away next on the 14th of March, while Monaghan United will face Longford Town at home on the 12th.
Shelbourne: Delany, Quigley, Byrne, Ryan, Whelan, Shiels, McGill, Cassidy (Hughes ’45), Corcoran (Gorman ’45), Forsyth (Scully ’60), Foley.
Substitutes Not Used: Williams, Doherty.
Monaghan United: Kelly, McMahon, Costigan, Lynch, Gartland, Tierney, O’Connor, McCrossan, Bermingham, Hughes, Clancy.
Substitutes Not Used: Flynn, Hanaphy, McKevitt, Sava, Brennan.
Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford)
Extra Time Man of the Match: Aidan Lynch (Monaghan United)
Niall Farrell is our correspondent at Tolka Park, covering the goings-on at Shelbourne. You can visit Niall's website for further information and contact details- niallf.net.