A dramatic late winner from David McGill gave Shelbourne a slender 2-1 win over Sporting Fingal after extra time in the semi-final of the Leinster Senior Cup on Monday night at Tolka Park.
The match was forced into extra-time after an 87th minute goal from Philip Gorman, and it was a goal from captain McGill that sealed the win for Shels after 116 minutes of play.
Sporting took the lead after just 17 minutes through a Keith Quinn free-kick after the referee booked Michael Coburn for a foul just outside the Shelbourne penalty area.
The home side attempted to peg Fingal back immediately, with youngster Marwan Azimi having a chance on the half hour mark. Azimi arrived at the back post and was unmarked as a free-kick was drafted in to the Fingal box. His attempt at a volley ended up well over the bar, but Shels were still on the attack. After a bright start, Fingal only had themselves to blame for letting Shels back into the match. Some sloppy passing and poor closing down let Shelbourne have most of the posession.
Despite all their chances and posession, Shels couldn’t level. The chance to tie the match going into half time was presented to the Reds in the shape of a 41st minute penalty. Azimi was brought down as he tried to claim the ball in the Fingal penalty area, but David Cassidy’s shot hit off the upright and came back out to be cleared from danger.
The second half began with the same frenetic pace as the first half ended. Shels had most of the chances but seemed to be lacking the cutting edge required to turn the chances into goals. Fingal had a rare chance to finish the match off on 64 minutes when Dean Delaney was forced to fist the ball clear, but for the most part Shelbourne had the upper hand.
Sporting didn’t do themselves any favours when John Frost, making a rare start for Fingal, got himself sent off on 74 minutes. David McGill was clean through on goal when Frost, the last Fingal defender, clumsily brought the Shels captain down.
McGill had a late chance for Shels after 86 minutes to level but dragged his shot marginally wide. Just as Shels seemed devoid of any more ideas, Philip Gorman popped up to equalise with a header from a free-kick in front of a small but vociferous crowd on 87 minutes.
Both teams were jaded going into extra-time, but Shelbourne always looked the more likely to get a winner. Fingal managed just one attack in the first half of extra time. Dinny Corcoran had a chance for Shels on 98 minutes, but the ball went just beyond his reach as the former Fingal striker slid at the far post.
Just as it seemed like the match would end in a Fingal win before Philip Gorman equalised, it seemed the match was headed for penalties at half time in extra time. On 115 minutes, after Shels threw everything at Sporting, David McGill finally grabbed the winner. The ball bobbled loose yards from the Fingal box and McGill hit a beatiful shot into the top left corner of Darren Quigley’s goal.
An anxious final five minutes saw Fingal have a few half-chances, but heroics from Dean Delaney and his defence ensured that the day belonged to Shelbourne. Shelbourne now await the winner of Bray Wanderers and UCD in the final of the Leinster Senior Cup, marking the first appearance by the Reds in a final since 2006.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany, Gareth Whelan (Ian O’Reilly ’69), Ray Scully, Michael Coburn, Michael Clarke, Paul Shiels (Adalberto Pinto HT), Colin O'Brien, David McGill, David Cassidy, Marwan Azimi (Philip Gorman ’56), Dinny Corcoran.
Subs Not Used: Steve Williams, Cian McDonald, Jack Flynn.
Sporting Fingal: Darren Quigley, Brian Gannon, John Frost, Kenny Browne, Stephen Paisley, Colm James, Shane Barrett (Anthony McCabe ’97), Ger O’Brien (Jason Marks ’62), Eamon Zayed (Jordan Nolan ’76), Kevin Dawson, Keith Quinn.
Subs Not Used: Brendan Clarke, Kevin Boyd, Philip Hand, Niall Cullen
Referee: Paul Tuite
Extratime Man of the Match: David McGill
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.