The playoffs beckon for Waterford United after they won in Tolka Park thanks to a remarkable second half comeback against a Shels side who dominated for much of the match.
Two late goals in ten minutes from John Kearney and Willie John Kiely gave the Blues the win after Mark Leech had opened the scoring for Shels in the first half.
Shelbourne came out of the blocks fast, frantically attacking from the starting whistle. Waterford had to clear an early shot off their line, and were on the back foot for most of the opening minutes.
The Blues gradually came into the contest though; enjoying progressively more possession as the game progressed. David Cassidy had a golden chance on ten minutes though, but blasted the ball well over from around ten yards out.
Willie John Kiely was one of Waterford's main threats, and had two clear chances between the 20th and 25th minutes. The better of the two saw him beat Dean Delany with a chip, only for the ball to go out off the upright.
Waterford were growing in confidence, with Timmy Purcell and Willie John Kiely posing real dangers to Shels. The Reds were able to repel successive attacks though, and Mark Leech broke the deadlock on 34 minutes after a few minutes of pressure from Shels.
On the counter attack, David Cassidy passed for Marc Hughes. The Bohs loanee then found his strike partner Mark Leech in the corner of the Blues penalty area, and Leech duly scored with a low powered shot into the corner of the net.
Ray Scully had a chance to double the lead four minutes before half time, but Kevin Burns pulled off an incredible save to push his long-range effort wide. Amazing saves were commonplace in the dying moments of the first half, with Dean Delany pulling off another incredible stop at the other end from Paul Murphy's free-kick.
That late chance for Waterford seemed to set the tone for the second half, as the Blues were dominant. Liam Kearney terrorised the Shels defence in the early stages of the second half, and on 52 minutes Willie John Kiely again hit the upright- this time from close range after Kearney passed short to the striker.
David McGill had the first chance of the half for Shels a minute later, but could only hit the side netting from a tight angle. From the hour mark onwards Waterford piled the pressure onto Shels, and on 74 minutes they at last equalised through John Kearney. Kearney smashed the ball in after the ball wasn't cleared away by the Shels defence.
Ten minutes later the Blues sealed their playoff spot through a goal scored on the break. Paul Murphy ran out on the wing and only had to lob the ball over to the unmarked Willie John Kiely who finished simply past Delany.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany, Stephen Quigley, Gareth Whelan, Ian Ryan, Stephen Paisley, Paul Shiels, David McGill, David Cassidy [Colin O'Brien '40], Mark Leech, Marc Hughes [Brian Farrell '75], Ray Scully [Eric Foley '83]
Subs not used: Steve Williams, Mick Coburn
Waterford United: Kevin Burns, Alan Carey, Seamus Long, Kevin Murray, Michael Coady, Timmy Purcell [Paul Walsh '71], John Kearney. Liam Kearney [Kevin Waters '91], Gary Dunphy, Paul Murphy [Shane Barrett '71], Willie John Kiely,
Subs not used: Chris Konopka, Paul Carey
Referee: Graham Kell
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Kevin Burns
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.