Saturday 24 February 2018

Shelbourne finally back in the big-time

Shelbourne 4
Finn Harps 0

Miguel Delaney

After five years out of the Premier Division, Shelbourne only needed four minutes last night to set up a rousing return.

Ian Ryan's early header was the first of an eventually emphatic win that secured automatic promotion. And, on Saturday, a draw against Cork will secure the First Division title itself.

Yet, despite the fact that Shels were always in command, the win was still reflective of their season: an early lead, good touches, but also some errors that ensured this game was nervier than expected.

That was understandable given how much the club has gone through and how much was on the line. But Shels should still have been out of sight shortly after Ryan had glanced in an early corner.

In the next 40 minutes, they missed a series of chances as anxiety crept in. Until, that is, Phil Hughes met Ryan's cross to head in his 26th goal of the campaign on 45 minutes.

Finn Harps pushed forward in the second half, but, inevitably, Shels' quality told. On 64 minutes, Dave Cassidy drilled home, while eight minutes later sub Conan Byrne tapped in the fourth.

SHELBOURNE -- Delaney; Ryan, Doyle, Paisley (Matthews 66), Byrne; McGill, Sullivan, Cassidy, Dawson, Clancy (Byrne 70); Hughes (Mulhall 74).

FINN HARPS -- C Gallagher; Redmond (Doherty 70), Cowan, O'Hagen (Mailey 45), JP Gallagher; Devaney, O'Mahony, Curran, Harkin (McHugh 45); Curtis, O'Donnell.

REF -- R Rogers (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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