Shelbourne kept alive their chances of promotion by overcoming a weakened Limerick side
in Jackman Park by a single goal to nil on Friday night.
The home fans may well question the decision to leave out their main striking option,
Stephen O’Flynn, whose influence would have surely made more of an impact. Pat Scully opted
for youth with Garbhan Coughlan coming into the eleven alongside debutant left back,
In what has been a common theme for Limerick this year, they began on the back foot at
home, allowing Shelbourne to run at them. From what seemed a harmless cross by Ray
Scully, the ball was adjudged to have struck the arm of Limerick captain Pat Purcell. Despite
the protests, the referee was never going to change his mind. Up stepped David McGill to
roll the ball calmly past Dave Ryan in the Limerick goal.
The onslaught from the home side began after falling behind. Attack after attack from Limerick brought
no rewards for them, as many aimless crosses and misdirected through balls failed to find
a man, with Limerick becoming frustrated for the majority of the first half. However, their
first scare arrived in the first half as a long range effort from Jeffrey Judge should have been
routine for Shels stopper Dean Delaney, though he managed to spill the ball to the feet of
Tierney who appeared to have been dragged down. The challenge was deemed legal, and referee Keith Callanan waved play on much to the rage of the home support.
The closest Limerick would come all match would arrive ten minutes before the break from
a set piece. A foul on John Tierney gave the home side a chance to shoot at goal on the edge
of the area. Limerick native Bobby Ryan stepped up to blast the ball. The shot somehow
found its way past the outside of the wall, and struck the far post. The ball was cleared by
Stephen Paisley before any Limerick player could convert the rebound. The Reds went into
the interval a goal to the good but under severe pressure.
As the teams re-emerged, Limerick introduced Peter White. White replaced youngster
Bhandarkar as the left back’s debut was brought to a close after the first half. Pat Scully
hoped that last year’s Wexford Youths player of the year could find the key to unlock the
The first real chance of the second half fell to Garbhan Coughlan from a Shane Tracey cross,
the ball went harmlessly wide however. Limerick were beginning to turn the screw, but
Shelbourne were dealing with the threats with a mixture of determination and luck.
On the hour mark, the home fans got what they wanted, the introduction of Stephen
O’Flynn. Greeted by a massive cheer from the home support, O’Flynn has a habit of scoring
against Shelbourne - scoring a hat-trick last year in Tolka Park in that memorable three-
all draw. Some fans will feel his introduction was too late to make any real difference to
proceedings and that he should have undoubtedly started from the first whistle.
The game turned into a feisty encounter as both David Cassidy and Pat Purcell were booked.
The crimes were a harsh challenge on Garbhan Coughlan and a bodycheck on Mark Leech
respectively. Real passion began to flow on and off the pitch as both sets of fans were in full
The best chance of the second half fell to Jeffrey Judge. Shane Treacy produced the cross of
the match to find Judge at the back post, unfortunately for the home side a poor contact on
the ball resulted in the ball skidding wide of Delaneys’ post.
Shelbourne seemed quite content to soak up the pressure, as new-boy Darren Coleman was
introduced. His powerful effort produced a great stop from the Shels keeper to deny him
a debut goal. In the meantime, Philly Gorman had gone down injured after coming on only
moments before, he was replaced by striker Robbie Farrell.
Shelbourne’s last scare came from a cross once again, after a scuffle in the area, the ball
fell to the head of Bobby Ryan. His looping header seemed to have been destined for the top
corner, but Delaney acrobatically tipped it wide, maintaining Shels lead.
As the board revealed four minutes, Shelbourne defended well, and kept the ball next to the
Limerick corner flag for as long as possible. They saw out the game to claim a valuable one-
nil win which see’s the second playoff spot go down to a monster clash in Tolka Park next