Pre Match Reading: The Welsh, #RedsStats and Goalkeepers

by Kev Doyle

LOI Side Review:

Welcome one and all to this evening’s final senior men’s home game of 2023 against UCD AFC a side who we will not be facing again next season owing to their unfortunate relegation from the Premier division who they will be replaced in for 2024 by Galway Fc an always popular away trip for red’s men and women through the years. Tonight is the 33rd out of 34 senior games to take place in our famous old ground this year with our league of Ireland women’s premier division side rounding out the year in tolka park for the Reds next Saturday afternoon with a north Dublin derby as they continue their preparations for the season ending FAI women’s cup final on November 19th in tallaght stadium not the only cup final for the club as we’ll get to later on. 

With two games to go for the men’s side this year our European destiny slipped from our own hands following last weekend’s draw in the Ryan McBride brandywell stadium against Derry City with two win’s required from here on out to stand a chance of a 4th place league finish and then further having to rely on St. Pat’s winning the cup final in the Aviva Stadium. Qualification for Europe or not this second season has seen further improvement under the guidance of Damien Duff and his coaching staff some of the numbers below:

  • 0.74 goals conceded per game in 2023 compared to 1.29 goals conceded per game in 2022.
  • Only 8 defeats in 2023 (All Comps) compared to 16 in 2022.
  • Only 3 home defeats this year in all competitions compared to 7 in 2022.
  • Only conceded 13 home league goals in 2023 compared to 25 in 2022. 
  • A 15% increase in attendances in tolka park this season compared to 2022 has been witnessed.

The only real downside’s this year have been the unfortunate exit at the hands of our close rivals Bohemian Fc from both cup competitions and the sheer number of draws that the men’s team has recorded this season, with 15 of the 34 league games so far ending in stalemate this is already a new club record amount of draws for a single season since the formation of the club in 1895. 

On the player stat’s front a few noteworthy one’s:

  • Evan Caffrey with 38/38 appearances is the only player to have played in every game so far this year. Hopefully he can finish out the season well.
  • On 13 clean sheets so far Conor Kearns will be looking to close out his season with 2 more to make it the most clean sheets in well over a decade since Dean Delany kept 18 in 2010. 
  • 5 further Reds have graduated from the Reds Academy this season as the gaffer continues to put his trust in young players. 
  • Jack Moylan will be playing his last game in tolka park tonight his 69th & hopefully 70th games in red next week before his departure to Lincoln City in November, Jackie has scored 21 goals so far in that time.
31 March 2023; Luke Byrne of Shelbourne is presented with a shirt to mark his 100th appearance for the club by Shelbourne equipment manager Graham Watson, left, and Karl Watson before the SSE Airtricity Premier Division match between Shelbourne and Derry City at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Milestones this year:

Kameron Ledwidge, Jack Moylan, Shane Griffin, Gavin Molloy and Mark Coyle all reached the 50 game mark for the club this year. The Skipper Luke Byrne and JR Wilson became Reds Centurions this year 2 of just 95 men and women to reach such a landmark. Meanwhile Finglas’s own Shane Farrell clocked up Reds game number 150 this year as well.

LOIW Side Review:

The women’s team also have two league games to go but unfortunately no league title will be returning to the banks of the Tolka for a 3rd straight year as Peamount successfully wrestled back the league trophy in Ferrycarrig park (Wexford are making a habit of losing matches that decide the destination of the league trophy three years running now) last time out and on balance deservedly so the most consistent team all year despite much like ourselves having been raided by Shamrock Rovers in the off-season. We do have the defence of our FAI Women’s cup to look forward to on the 19th of November in tallaght stadium with links to tickets widely available on the club’s social media accounts or via Ticketmaster directly get yourselves a long and roar the girls on, hopefully another piece of silverware for this group of players.

Here’s a few of the pivotal numbers from 2023:

  • The Reds’ meagre defence in 2022 only conceded 0.53 goals per game; this has risen to 0.81 in 2023.
  • At the other end of the pitch the goal scoring has remained relentless as they’ve been going along at a greater than 2 goals per game rate much like last season.
  • A 3rd ever European victory was won by the squad in Lithuania against Cardiff City and a breathtaking stat of one Hannah Healy becoming the youngest ever player to take the field in the competition. 

On the player stat’s front a few noteworthy one’s:

  • Both Megan Smyth-Lynch & Maggie Pierce are a perfect 26 games from 26 so far this year with 3 to go.
  • 4 further players have graduated from the academy to appear in the senior team with many more in the pipeline with both academy sides into their respective cup finals in the coming weeks.
  • Noelle Murray is just 2 goals shy of scoring 10 more goals in a season for the 7th time since the dawn of the women’s national league in 2011.

Milestones this year:

Megan Smyth-Lynch & Leah Doyle clocked up Reds game number 50 this year meanwhile Megan also played her 150th senior game of football. Noelle Murray and Alex Kavanagh became the 3rd & 4th members of the LOIW setup to reach 150 games in Red as well this season.

Academy Sides:

Under 19’s:

The men’s side were defeated in the semi-finals of the cup and look likely to finish their league campaign in 3rd/4th position of the elite tier 1 this year with some star performers being Gavin Hodgins with 18 goals in 18 games, Gbemi Arubi with 13 goals in 22 games and Harvey Nugent who has played in 24 out of the 25 games.

The women’s side have a Cup final to look forward to having beaten Dundalk in the semi finals and will now face Wexford the league runners up in Athlone on November 9th a side they finished a distant 3rd behind in the league. Star performers include Katie McCarn with 21 goals in 20 games and the defensive duo of Keva Deegan and Leah Riley who both played 22 out of the 24 games so far in 2023. 

Under 17’s:

The men’s side have a cup final tomorrow afternoon in Tallaght stadium against Shamrock Rovers having dealt with UCD in the previous round. In the league they are locked on 27 points with Dundalk heading into the final round of fixtures where they face a trip to Treaty on Saturday the 4th of November while dundalk are also on the road to Rovers should the sides finish level dundalk would win the league on head to head record. Star performers for the side this year have been Irish underage international Dan Ring with 20 goals in 25 games and Jamie Gamble with 8 clean sheets to his name.

The women’s side also have a cup final this weekend in Athlone on Sunday evening against the host’s having overcome north Dublin rivals bohemian fc in the semi-finals after extra-time. In the league they have a 3 point lead over the same opposition with 3 games to go. Among the many star performers in this outfit that has remarkably seen 11 players capped at either under 17 or under 16 level internationally this season are the 2 twenty goals for the season girls in Aoibhe Brennan and Hannah O’Brien.

Form Guide:

  • The men’s team tonight face UCD AFC against whom in the last five league meetings our record is 3 wins, 2 draws and 0 defeats.
  • The Reds recent form is one of 2 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat yielding a 40% win rate in that time period.
  • Meanwhile our visitors’ recent away form is 1 draw and 4 defeats in the last 5 games away from belfield.
  • The #LOIW side meanwhile face Bohemians in Tolka next Saturday with this week being an international week with the sides only league meeting this year ending in a 2-0 reds win earlier in the season.
  • The Reds recent form is one of 4 wins and 1 defeat in the last 5 games meaning an 80% win rate across these games.
  • Meanwhile our visitors’ recent home form is a run  of 0 wins in their last 5 games.

That’s your lot for this the final edition of #RedsStats for the 2023 season, I’ll return in 2024 after my hibernation until next time folks UP THE REDS!!!. And get yourselves along to Tallaght on the 19th to cheer on the girls in the cup final.

TAFFY

by Pat Cordelle

28 February 2022; Daniel Hawkins of Shelbourne during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between UCD and Shelbourne at UCD Bowl in Belfield, Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The shortest distance between Wales and Dublin, is as the crow flies, approximately 30 miles. However, my research shows, rather surprisingly, only 6 players from the Principality of Wales have made the short journey to Tolka Park, in the long history of the League of Ireland. Four of the six stayed scarcely no length of time, playing just 15 games between them. The other two did stay for longer and played an important part in the Reds successes in the domestic and European competitions.

Daniel Hawkins: Born in Cardiff, the young Wales forward impressed during his time with Finn Harps in 2021 and as a result signed for the newly promoted Shelbourne, ahead of the new 2022 season, having caught the eye of manager, Damien Duff.  Made his debut for the Reds in the televised first game of the new season, which ended in a 3-0 loss at home to St.Patrick’s Athletic. He scored in his second game in a 2-0 win away to Drogheda. Made three more league appearances before a loss of form and injuries interrupted his time at Tolka Park. The club confirmed his departure on 17 November 2022. 

Lewis Webb: On the 15 January 2022 Shelbourne announced the loan signing of goalkeeper Lewis Webb from Swansea FC who he joined from Merthyr Town. He made his Shels debut in a 3-0 defeat to St.Patrick’s Athletic (along with his compatriot, Daniel Hawkins) and made seven league appearances. He made a series of costly mistakes which cost him his place in the starting eleven. Webb failed to fulfil his potential with the Reds and was replaced in the team by the veteran Brendan Clarke. On 09 June 2022 Shelbourne confirmed that Swansea City had recalled that the goalkeeper from his loan spell at Tolka Park.

Scott van der Sluis: On 16 June 2022, goalkeeper Van-der- Sluis signed for Shelbourne from Bangor City of the Welsh League On 26 August 2022, he made his debut for the Reds, keeping a clean sheet in a 4-0 F.A.I. Cup win over non- league Bonagee United (Donegal).Only the chosen ones, lucky enough to get a ticket will have seen him play in Letterkenny. On 30 November 2022, he renewed his contract with Shelbourne for the upcoming season 2023.In June 2023, it was announced that he had left the club without making a league appearance, in order to participate on Love Island; Reds manager Damien Duff said Van-der-Sluis would not be returning to the club.

Mark Williams: The Holyhead man had a spell with Football League club Shrewsbury Town before switching to Shelbourne whom he represented in the 1999 Inter-Toto Cup against Neuchatel Xamas of Switzerland. Williams carved out a reputation as a consistent goal-getter in the Welsh Premier League. He played 64 minutes in the home leg before being replaced by Johnny Powell. In the away game in Switzerland the roles were reversed, Williams coming on Powell in the 74th minute. Williams, Shelbourne career lasted 80 minutes over two games.

Steve Williams: Born in Aberystwyth, on the 16 October 1974, the Wales U21 international began his career with Cardiff City with whom he made 33 League appearances. He joined Shelbourne in the summer of 1999 after a two year stint with Dundalk. He played in the most successful Shels team ever, winning 5 League Titles + 1 FAI Cup. Fortunate to have such a great back four in front of him.  Possibly his finest hour came when he kept a clean sheet as Shels beat Hadjuk Split 2-0 in a Champions League qualifier in 2004. His Reds career ended with the financial collapse in 2006. Although he was prone to mistakes he made some outstanding saves including an unbelievable save against Bohemians in the FAI Cup Final. He stayed on in Ireland for further spells with Bray, Sporting Fingal and Drogheda.

Jamie Harris: Born in Cardiff, on 28 June 1979. In 1999 he moved to Bohs, where he spent one season. He left Bohs for St.Pats before linking up with the Reds in 2003 with whom he won three League Titles in 2003, 2004 and 2006. The central defender was a big commanding player, comfortable on the ball who could also play a centre forward when the need arose. He was signed by Scottish club, Dunfermline Athletic, managed by Stephen Kenny, on 28 January 2007 on a free transfer. He made 90 League and Cup + 12 European appearances for the Reds.

His late grandfather, Rory Keane was a Republic of Ireland international player.

Between the Sticks

by Pat Cordelle

This article is a snap-shot in time of 17 custodians who have operated between the sticks for Shelbourne, over the last 70 odd years, highlighting some points of interest along the way.

Kevin Blount: Made his debut in January 1953 in a match with Drumcondra and won a league medal that season. He left the club at the end of the 1953/54 season. He answered a call from the Reds after the departure of Paddy Roche to Manchester United in October ‘73 and fittingly closed his League of Ireland career with Shels, playing his last LoI game in April ’74, at Tolka Park, aged 44, over 21 years after he had made his League debut with the club. The flamboyant and colourful, Blount was one of the best goal-keepers in the LoI at the time.

Jim Farmer: Took over the goal-keeping duties when Blount left to join Botanic, Leinster League. He represented the Republic of Ireland at amateur international level, in a 2-0 defeat to Scotland in Glasgow. Was a regular fixture in goal for the Reds until he lost his place to new singing, Pat Egglestone.

Pat Egglestone: Born on the 17 March 1927, the English man signed for Shels in August 1956, previously played for Wrexham, Shrewsbury Town, Halifax Town and Bradford City. He was signed by Eddie Gannon together with two other players from the North West of England, William Parker and Harry Hitchens. Very similar in the way that the three lads signed from Hull City this season.

Cecil Cahill: In the season 1958/59 he played 22 league + 1 FAI Cup games for Shels. His brother, Harry Cahill, a hockey international, represented Great Britain at the 1960, 1964 and 1968 Summer Olympics. Cecil also a useful hockey player.

Finbar Flood: Winning the FAI Cup in 1960, was the highlight of his football career. Along with his team mate Paddy Turner, he was transferred in August 1961, to Scottish second division club, Greenock Morton. He earned the reputation as a safe pair of hands on and off the field. He was appointed chairman of Shelbourne FC after they ran into financial difficulties in the early 2000’s.

John Heavey: A big man, with an imposing and a massive presence between the posts. Signed on a free from St.Pats, John was an important part of the Reds success story of the first half of the sixties. In January 1965, he became the second goalkeeper in the League of Ireland to score when his long punt from his own penalty area sailed over the head of his opposite number at Kilcohan Park, Waterford.

Leo Byrne: Instantly recognisable by his big mop of unruly hair, he had to wait for his chance due to Heavey’s excellent form. On 16 September 1964, with Heavey out injured, he played in the Inter Cities Fair Cup, a 1-1draw away to Belenenses, Lisbon. He left at the end of 1969/70. Had a second spell with the Reds in 1979/80. Leo Byrne was a stylish goal-keeper with a liking for the spectacular.

Paddy Roche: Started his career with the Reds with whom he won the first of his eight full international caps. He was on the losing side in the 1973 FAI Cup Final. During his time with Shels he made 100 League appearances and scored one League goal, the second Shels goalie to score from his own area. He was transferred to Manchester United in October 1973, for a fee £150,000.

Willie Byrne:  Came through the Shels minor (or Youths as it is now called) ranks. He had two spells with Shelbourne, 1969/70 and 1974-1976. He was on the losing side in the 1975 FAI Cup Final in the shock loss to amateur club, Home Farm. He made 49 League and 8 FAI Cup appearances with the Reds.

Tony Delahunt:  He made 10 appearances in the season 1979/80. On the 27 January 1980 the unfortunate Delahunt was in goal for Shelbourne when they suffered a record 9-0 loss to defending champions, Dundalk, at Oriel Park. Only a couple of brave late saves by the hapless Delahunt deprived Dundalk of double figures. Shelbourne’s largely young, raw, inexperienced side were completely overwhelmed.

Fred Davis: Signed on a free from Bohs ahead of the 1980/81 season. Had three spells with the Reds making close on 200 league and cup appearances. He became a member of the backroom staff playing on and off as emergency cover well into the 1990’s. He spent 27 years with the club, where he experienced the good and the very bad times, in various different roles.

Jody Byrne: League winner in 92, Cup winner in 93. Sent off after 27 seconds in an important league game against title rivals Derry City. Sent off after 4 minutes in a high profile money spinning friendly against Celtic.  Became the third Shels keeper to score when his long wind-assisted kick found the net at the other end in a league game at Gortakeegan, Co Monaghan.

Alan Gough: He was born in Watford and joined the Reds from Galway. A twice cup winner (96 and 97), played in four successive FAI Cup finals (95-98). Sent off in the drawn final with St. Pats in 96 for a handling offence outside of his penalty area. Redeemed himself with a penalty save in the replay near the end of the game with the scores level at 1-1. Imagine the abuse he suffered from Rangers fans behind the goal at Prenton Park.

Steve Williams: Born in Aberystwyth, Wales, he joined Shels from Dundalk in 1999. Was a major player in our double success that season, keeping 17 clean-sheets. Won five 5 league titles and 1FAI Cup medal with the club. He will be remembered by the Reds fans for his outstanding save to deny Bohemians a winner in the 2000 FAI Cup Final. He made 20 appearances in European competitions. He returned to Tolka for a second spell in 2010, making 3 League and Cup appearances.

3 August 2018; Dean Delaney of Shelbourne during the SSE Airtricity League First Division match between Shelbourne and Cobh Ramblers at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Eoin Smith/Sportsfile

Dean Delany:  Had three spells with the Reds. Made his debut in a 4-2 victory over Waterford on 24 June 2005 and he left Shels after winning the First Division title in 2019. He was named on the PFAI First Division Team of the Year for 2009 and 2018. Deano was in goal when the Reds suffered unimaginable heart break in the last game of the 2008 season when Limerick 37 scored in the dying seconds to deny Shels promotion to the Premier Division. On the 21 September 2019 he received a standing ovation from all sides of the ground as he left the field of play-Tolka Park- for the last time, after a 7-0 thumping of Limerick.

Brendan Clarke: Took over the goal-keeping duties from Colin McCabe/Jack Brady. A first division winner in 2021 and saw off the challenge of Swansea loanee, Lewis Webb in 2022 to make the number one shirt his own. I will be forever grateful for the get well video message he sent me following my heart surgery last year. A top man is Brendan Clarke.

Conor Kearns: Joined from Galway, Brendan Clarke going in the opposite direction. His has been in outstanding form this season. Should be a cert for selection on PFAI team of year.

10 March 2023; Shelbourne goalkeeper Conor Kearns during the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division match between Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
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