Shelbourne got their first win this season in the Airtricity First Division on Friday night at home to Salthill Devon. The Reds were made to work far harder than many expected in the opening 40 minutes, with Devon having a number of chances.
David Cassidy scored his second goal in as many games in the 39th minute to break the deadlock. The former First Division Player of the Year smashed the ball in to the top left corner after the Salthill defence completely missed a Ray Scully cross.
That defensive lapse let Devon down in a half that saw them hold their own for the most part. Daryl Horgan in particular had an excellent chance to put Salthill ahead after 30 minutes, the forward shooting wide in the penalty area after being played in by David Shovlin.
The Reds went into the match with the focus firmly on attack, which left them open to counter-attacks. Shane Browne had two chances in first half Salthill counter-attacks, one of which was a half-volley from the edge of the box on 26 minutes.
Shels, however, were more than equal to anything Salthill could throw at them. The home side almost followed up Cassidy’s 39th minute opener with a second goal, as Eric Foley headed wide from yards out just four minutes later.
A second goal did come for Shelbourne, as they came out from the half- time break with a renewed hunger. In the 47th minute, Dinny Corcoran scored with an exquisite lob over Salthill ‘keeper Ronan Forde. Colin O’Brien knocked the ball on to Corcoran from a Shels throw-in, and the striker deftly lobbed the ball into the net.
Salthill now seemed powerless to resist the Shels attack as the Reds surged forward with fluent passing play. Paul Shiels was at the root of many attacks as the central midfielder gave a master class in ball winning and distribution.
Darren Forsyth got his first goal in his second spell at Shels in the 53rd minute. The striker was played in behind the Salthill back four, whose attempt at an offside trap went horribly wrong. Forsyth then coolly finished past Forde to make it 3-0 and seal the win for Shelbourne.
The other major talking point of the match was Salthill’s lack of discipline. In the 57th minute, Salthill’s Shane Murphy was sent off after he hauled Eric Foley down. The defender was the last man and brought Foley down just outside the Salthill penalty area.
In the 78th minute, Shane Browne was yellow-carded for a harsh tackle on Ray Scully in what looked like a foul worthy of a dismissal. Another yellow card was awarded minutes earlier when Salthill substitute Shane Stenson went in clumsily on Paul Shiels.
Both Shelbourne substitutes Marc Hughes and Philip Gorman had their chances when they came on, with Hughes spurning a golden opportunity to make it 4-0 in the 68th minute. The Bohs loanee got the ball, turned past a defender and evaded a tackle before shooting just wide.
Philip Gorman had a chance for a goal late on, but it was to remain 3-0.
At full time, Shelbourne deserved their win but the Reds must feel that the margin of victory could have been greater, as many of their clearest chances were not converted into goals.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany, Ray Scully, Ian Ryan, Gareth Whelan, Stephen Quigley, Paul Shiels, Colin O’Brien, David Cassidy, Eric Foley (Marc Hughes ‘60), Darren Forsyth, Dinny.Corcoran (Philip Gorman ‘70)
Subs not used: Robbie Clarke, Kevin Doherty, Steve Williams
Salthill Devon: Ronan Forde, Paddy Quinlan, Sean Murphy, Brian Geraghty, James Whelan, Luke McConnell (Shane Stenson ’63), Sean Boyle (John McGrath ’60), David Shovlin, Mike Kennedy, Daryl Horgan, Shane Browne (Gerry Dolan ’80)
Subs not used: Mike Quirke, Mart Mannion
Referee: Phil Caschera
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: David Cassidy
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.