Leixlip United 1-3 Shelbourne
Shels Scorers: Jamie Doyle, James English, Stephen Meaney
(courtesy of Harry Manning and extratime.ie )
Shelbourne came from behind to overcome non-league Leixlip United 3-1 in their first game of pre-season at the Leixlip Amenity Centre.
Mark Keenan had given Leixlip an early advantage before well-taken goals courtesy of Jamie Doyle and James English and a late dink from Stephen Meaney ensured Kevin Doherty’s men began their preparations for the 2016 First Division with a win.
It was Shelbourne who settled into proceedings the better with some sharp, fast-flowing football being exhibited across the pitch as they controlled the majority of the possession.
However they struggled to create any early openings and Leixlip capitalised by taking the lead after Mark Keenan rose above his marker to power home a header following a wicked corner ball from Mark O’Toole.
Shelbourne immediately mounted the pressure in search of an equalizer as midfield anchor men Gavin Boyne and Cian Kavanagh began to link up well with forwards English and Mark Sandford as a number of half-chances fell their way.
That pressure prevailed right on the half-hour mark when Kavanagh slipped the ball through to English who then played it into the path of Doyle, who rounded the keeper before calmly slotting it into an empty net.
The opportunities were beginning to flow for Doherty’s side with Sandford and Kavanagh both coming close.
First, wide man Gareth Coughlan skinned his man before fizzing a ball across the box which was inches from reaching Sandford’s outstretched boot.
Soon after, a loose ball broke to Kavanagh and the Shamrock Rovers loanee set himself up nicely before hitting a long-range strike which barely missed the target.
Boyne then received the ball high up the pitch before setting up Sandford whose rocket shot whistled past Sebastian Lokas’ post.
Leixlip created a fantastic chance of their own when O’Toole floated a lovely ball into Shelbourne’s 18 yard area which was met by the head of Colly Murray but goalkeeper Greg Murray was on hand to gather the ball deep into his clutches.
The goal Shelbourne craved finally arrived after Boyne broke out from midfield before squeezing the ball through to English who made no mistake in placing it beyond Lokas.
The Reds almost added a third straight away after Kavanagh played the ball inside to English, who then returned it to Kavanagh, who struck it sweetly only for Lokas to palm it away towards an oncoming Doyle. He whipped it back in towards the box only for it to drift over the head of Kavanagh and away to safety.
Leixlip garnered one last chance of their own just before the half-time whistle when Stephen Doyle expertly controlled a long ball before hitting a crisp cross-field ball onto Sven Biansumba’s foot but his effort was deflected and easily stopped by Murray.
Doherty made the most of his options on the bench with no less than nine changes made at the break.
Leixlip started the half with a renewed sense of confidence as they began to knock the ball across the park at an impressive tempo. Stephen Doyle came close after being played through by Graham Kiersey but Jack Brady, in the Shels goal, was on hand to deny the lively striker.
However, Shelbourne began to pick up where they left off in the first half in controlling the pace of the game with former Longford Town man Lorcan Shannon linking up nicely with Adam O’Connor down the right wing while midfield trio Daire Doyle, Robert Duggan and Dylan Grimes were also moulding well together with some excellent precision passing around the middle of the park.
Leixlip almost found themselves on level terms once again midway through the second-half when Ronan Barry’s looping effort found the crossbar from around thirty yards for what would have been a stunning goal.
Alas, Shelbourne’s dominance in the game prevailed once more when centre-back Ryan Robinson lofted a wonderful ball forward to Meaney who delicately lobbed the ball over substitute ‘keeper Sean Muddiman and into the roof of the net to secure the victory.
Leixlip United:Sebastian Lokas (Sean Muddiman 52), Breen MacDonagh, Aaron Flood, Mark Keenan, Mark Cribben, Craig Keller (Graham Kiersey 29), Craig Smith (Ronan Barry 52), Colly Murray(Ciaran Walsh 47), Mark O’Toole (Calvin Bay 52), Sven Biansumba, Stephen Doyle.
Subs not used:Eoin Hackett.
Shelbourne FC:Greg Murray (Jack Brady 46), Darragh Gannon (Adam O’Connor 46), Alan Kehoe (Brian Connaughton 46), Robert O’Reilly (Stephen Kelly 60), Connor Keeley (Ryan Robinson 46), Jamie Doyle (Lorcan Shannon 46), Gavin Boyne (Robert Duggan 46), Cian Kavanagh (Daire Doyle 46), Gareth Coughlan (Dylan Kavanagh 46), James English (Dylan Grimes 46), Mark Sandford (Stephen Meaney 60).
Subs not used:None.
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match:Cian Kavanagh (Shelbourne)