SUBSTITUTE Kurtis Byrne emerged from the bench to fire Dundalk past Shelbourne in the first round at Oriel Park last night.
The young striker – a son of former Celtic star Paul Byrne – got the only goal in the 76th minute. It was the result of a well worked move, with the former Ross County man exchanging passes with Vinny Faherty before receiving the ball back to toe poke it past Niall Bourdon from close range.
The home side had the best of a lacklustre first-half and Tiarnan Mulvenna saw a goal ruled out for offside before Bourdon tipped Richie Towell's audacious effort from 50 yards on to his crossbar midway through the half.
Shels improved after the break and Peter Cherrie had to get his hand to a Mark Leech header that looked like it was sneaking in just past the hour.
Chances continued to fall at either end as both sides – who meet at Tolka Park in a league match this Friday – appeared keen to avoid extra-time. Philly Hughes fired wide just minutes after coming on as a sub before Byrne broke the deadlock soon after.
Byrne thought he had doubled his tally three minutes later only to see Graham Gartland stop his hooked effort from crossing the line before Cherrie denied Gartland from forcing extra-time with a smart save late on.
DUNDALK – Cherrie; Mountney, Sullivan, Boyle, Osborne; McDonnell, Towell, Ward (Dillon 54); Mulvenna (Byrne 61), Faherty, Meenan (Rossiter 78).
SHELBOURNE – Bourdon; Cornwall, Shortall, Gartland, Memery (Ryan 47); Hanlon, Brennan (Mooney 82), Crowley, Bayly, Prizeman (Hughes 63); Leech.
REF – P Tuite