Thursday 18 January 2018

Mathews hails players' grit as Shels find some home comfort

Shelbourne's fans have endured a torrid time at Tolka Park this season, but they were finally given something to cheer about as the Reds produced a fantastic second-half comeback in their final home game of the campaign to overcome Cork City.

"To come from 2-0 down shows that these players do have character and they deserve credit for the way they bounced back from the disappointment of losing in the FAI cup semi-final replay," said manager Alan Mathews.

With Cork two up and in cruise control, that comeback had looked unlikely at half-time. Vinny Sullivan opened the scoring with a thunderous finish for the visitors on 26 minutes, before Kevin Murray doubled City's advantage following a Shelbourne defensive disaster four minutes before the break.

The home team restarted with all guns blazing, though, Dave Cassidy finishing neatly into the top right corner in the 53rd minute before Philly Hughes levelled with a penalty soon after the hour mark, despite severe remonstrations from the City defence.

There was no protesting Conan Byrne's winner though, as John Dunleavy conceded an unnecessary free-kick, with Byrne curling a sumptuous effort home from 25 yards.

Gearoid Morrissey went close to scoring an equaliser late on, with Chris Bennion saving his low drive, but Shels held on to record their first league victory at home since the beginning of July.

Shelbourne -- Bennion; Shortall, Boyle, Paisely, Fitzgerald; Byrne, Cronin, Dawson, Cassidy, Kavanagh; Hughes (Gorman 89).

Cork City -- McNulty; Kavanagh, K Murray, Spillane (D Murray 64), Murphy; Turner, Healy (Morrissey 76), Duggan, Dunleavy (O'Neill 81), D Horgan; Sullivan.

Ref -- R Rogers (Dublin)

Irish Independent

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