SHELBOURNE continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-0 victory against Cobh Ramblers at Tolka Park on Friday night. First half goals from Lee Murtagh and Dylan Connolly gave Johhny McDonnell’s side the three points.
The home side created the first chance of the match in the 5th minute. Brian Gannon made his way into the area and pulled it back for Dylan Connolly who was in space. However Connolly scuffed his right foot shot and the effort was off target.
Cobh created their first chance five minutes later. Robert Waters beat a couple of Shels players before picking out Keith O’Flynn. O’Flynn’s goalbound shot was blocked by right back Gannon.
However Shelbourne, who wore an all red strip, managed to get their noses in front in the 17th minute. Philip Hand’s corner went all the way to the back post. Striker Lee Murtagh rose unchallenged and headed into the empty net.
Murtagh, who played particularly well in the first half, nearly made it two in the 28th minute. Dylan Connolly got the better of Martin Deady down the left. He eventually picked out Shelbourne’s number 20 in the 6 yard box. Murtagh’s shot was saved by Robert Birdsall and Darren Tinnelly’s follow up effort was cleared off the line.
Just a minute later Shelbourne centre back Adam O’Connor misjudged a long clearance. It left Waters with a golden opportunity to score for the visitors but Greg Murray got his leg to the shot to make the save.
The home team managed to double their lead ten minutes from half time. Tinnelly crossed from the left and Dylan Connolly managed to get to it before Robert Birdsall and head it over the Cobh goalkeeper into an empty net.
Shels nearly added a glorious3rd in the 40th minute. Stephen McDonnell played an excellent pass to release Lee Murtagh down the left. Murtagh played it to the onrushing Darren Tinnelly. Tinnelly made his way into the area and found himself one on one with Birdsall who managed to tip his effort over the top.
Cobh, who wore all white on the night, very nearly pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute. Alan Flynn’s in swinging corner from the right was met by Brendan Frahill. His header went across goal and just ended up on the wrong side of the post.
At the other end Robert Birdsall was booked for handling the ball outside the area. Gareth Coughlan took the resultant free kick but Birdsall managed to make amends by diving to his left to save.
Murtagh came close again in the 64th minute. Darren Tinnelly’s deep cross from the left was met by the Shelbourne striker. His looping header looked to be going in only for it to come back off the crossbar.
It should have become three 15 minutes from time. Dylan Connolly made his way towards the area. He eventually played it to Gareth Coughlan. Coughlan’s shot was straight at Birdsall though. Shortly afterwards Gannon crossed from the right. Coughlan volleyed it first time but the Cobh keeper made an excellent reflex save to deny him again.
The Cork side’s challenge faded as the game went on. Robert Waters, who shot wide from a narrow angle, had their only real opportunity in the final quarter. Shelbourne fully deserved the three points as they look to mount a challenge to get back to the Premier League.
Shelbourne: Greg Murray; Brian Gannon, Adam O’Connor, Lee Desmond, Philip Hand; William McDonagh (Keith Quinn 73), Stephen McDonnell; Dylan Connolly, Gareth Coughlan (Jake Donnelly79), Darren Tinnelly; Lee Murtagh (Shane Dolan 82).
Subs not used: Nathan Murphy, Ryan Robinson, Dylan Cashin, Simon Dixon.
Booked: Stephen McDonnell (43), Gareth Coughlan (68),
Cobh Ramblers: Robert Birdsall; Sean O’Mahony, Craig Burns, Brendan Frahill, Anthony O’Donnell; Ryan Goldsmith (Christopher McCarthy 90), Roy Kenny (Robert Lynch 69), Alan O’Flynn, Martin Deady; Robert Waters, Keith O’Flynn (Johnatan Creamer 82).
Subs not used: George Gill, Eoin Hastings, Jonathan Spillane, Sean Hallahan.
Booked: Robert Birdsall (53), Robert Lynch (85)
Referee: Adriano Reale
Extratime.ie man of the match: Stephen O’Donnell (Shelbourne).