SHELBOURNE 5 (Jamie Lennon 5′; Aidan Keeena 23′, pen 24′; Sean Cronin 38′; Jason Grouse 85′ )
FINN HARPS 1 (Peadar Mogan 2′)
Report with thanks to Eoghan Rock
Shelbourne were coming into this fixture searching to avoid further disappointment on the back of Dundalk defeat, and they hosted a Finn Harps side determined to dampen the mood of the hosts in Tolka Park.
The first chance of the game came from Shels midfielder Sean Cronin, who latched onto a through ball but his early effort was blasted over the bar to no avail. Finn Harps took the lead against the run of play, a smart through ball was met by Peader Mogan who found himself one on one with the goalkeeper and coolly rolled it past him into the net. – Shelbourne 0-1 Finn Harps.
Shels responded with a goal to of their own to equalise. Jason Grouse burst down the wing and his deflected cross was met by Jamie Lennon who smashed his header into the bottom corner. The game was end to end as both teams looked to gain an advantage and Harps came close when a free kick was swung in and big centre half Jason McGee rose to head his effort just wide of the post. Shels had a headed chance of their own, Grouse again provided a delivery but Lennon, on the end of the cross, failed to hit the target from close range.
Shels took the lead in spectacular fashion. Aidan Keena showed great character to chase a loose ball after a tackle and sprinted to the edge of the box, and he expertly looped his effort into the top corner to his delight to give Shelbourne the lead. – Shelbourne 2-1 Finn Harps.
Shelbourne were in the mood for more and added a third from the penalty spot after a calamitous hand ball from Adam Byrne resulted in a penalty and Keena stepped up to score his second goal in as many minutes to give Shels a 3-1 lead and put an end to miserable few minutes for The Harps. Shelbourne 3-1 Finn Harps.
Shels’ domination was evident, Sean Cronin found space at the edge of the box and his clinical strike found the bottom corner to the keepers bemusement to give Shelbourne a 3 goal cushion. This was the final action of the half as Shels produced a top quality first half performance to bounce back from a 0-1 setback early on. Half-Time: Shelbourne 4-1 Finn Harps.
The game failed to produce much in the early moments of the second half but Sean Cronin nearly added his second of the game, only for Declan Ward’s strong hands in the Harps net preventing a 5th Shels goal. Shelbourne were clearly dominating and should have had a 5th, but Jamie Lennon could only fire his strike down the throat of the keeper who again used strong hands to his advantage.
Kelan Gaffney saved Shelbourne from conceding their second, Dylan McGroary tried to steer his strike near post but Gaffney was there to tip the ball around the post. Finn Harps nearly scored again as they looked to recover from a first half Shelbourne blitz. Peadar Mogan burst into the box and drilled his shot goal-wards only for Gaffney to again to deny the striker his second goal of the game.
Shelbourne finally added a 5th. A seemingly ‘hit and hope’ cross from Jason Grouse was fumbled by the Finn Harps goalkeeper and the ball rolled over the line. After a moment of consultation with his linesman, the referee awarded the goal. That proved to be the final nail in the coffin of the visitors from Donegal, as the referee blew the final whistle to ensure Shels were back on track on their quest to finish top of the section.
Final score: Shelbourne 5-1 Finn Harps.
Shelbourne: Kelan Gaffney, Jonathan Anene (Nathan Doyle 36′), Sean Trimble, Arran Molloy, Cian Gilson, Jason Grouse, Sean Cronin, Jordan Connell (Callum Brammell 69′), Conor Lynam (MichaelMurphy 61′), Jamie Lennon, Aidan Keena
Sub not used: Ryan O’Neill
Finn Harps: Declan Ward, Paddy McColgan, Adam Byrne, Shaun Rodgers, Jason McGee, Shane Blaney (Michael Devine 63′), James McKinney (Aaron Doherty 58′), Ryan Finn (Ryan Cunningham 58′), Dylan Mc Croary, Liam Walsh (Matthew MacKinnon 63′), Peadar Mogan.
Subs not used: None