Molloy magic cuts Shels down to size
A night in which the Sheriff upset the usual laws.
Three incredible goals produced an even more sensational comeback and derby upset for the non-league side.
Despite playing as the 'home' team in Tolka Park, Sheriff YC made Shels feel a lot worse than unwelcome visitors in their own house.
Clearly, Pat Sullivan and Shamrock Rovers have set a trend for the week with admirable shocks deriving from spectacular strikes.
The result was all the more remarkable given how in control Shelbourne were at half-time and 2-0 up.
After Lorcan Fitzgerald had hit the base of the post with a brilliant free-kick, Conan Byrne then illustrated the elevated quality of the first-division leaders on 14 minutes.
The forward expertly finished Chris Mulhall's low cross from an angle.
On 39 minutes, then, Fitzgerald appeared to make the game safe. The full-back exchanged a tricky one-two with Phillip Hughes before hitting a low strike into the corner of Lee Murphy's net to make it 2-0.
Despite the scoreline, however, there was still a raucous vibrancy about the sizable Sheriff crowd at half-time.
And that only grew as William Molloy twice shot narrowly over from distance. As was to become apparent, he was merely finding his range.
But not before Thomas Meehan found his. On 53 minutes, the forward hit an audacious 40-yard lob that caught Dean Delaney out and brought Sheriff back into the game.
Tolka erupted. And then did so again a minute later. Although Fitzgerald was immediately brought down for a Shelbourne penalty, Hughes smacked it over the bar.
Shels were clearly rattled. And, soon, their net would be again.
Within minutes, Sheriff were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box. Molloy -- the brother of former FAI Cup winner Trevor -- duly stepped up to curl in a supreme equaliser
Mere moments later, he bettered even that. The winger struck a sweetly hit piledriver into the top corner of Delaney's net to put Sheriff into the lead for the first time.
Three exceptional strikes in nine minutes, two heroic scorers and one amazing comeback.
The worst thing for Shels was that the non-league side were toying with them by that stage.
Every pass was met with a roar, every trick a taunting song. Indeed it was Sheriff who looked far likelier to score again.
For half an hour, the best Shels offered was a snatched shot from substitute Collie James.
Sheriff, by contrast, had already delivered so much more.
SHERIFF YC -- Murphy; McDermott (O'Neill 45), Kavanagh, Flood, Browne; Molloy, Lester, Murphy, Dunne; Rock (O'Brien 78), Meehan (Murphy 71),
SHELBOURNE -- Delaney; Matthews, Boyle, Paisley, Fitzgerald; Sullivan (James 71), Dawson (McGill 45); Mulhall (Da Silva 76), C Byrne, S Byrne; Hughes
REF -- D Coombes (Dublin)