Match Report by James Donnelly
Longford Town players, staff and supporters will feel very disappointed leaving Tolka Park tonight after losing 1-0 to Shelbourne thanks to a 79th minute penalty courtesy of Conan Byrne.
The home side started the better of the two teams, with James English hitting the post from a header in the 5th minute before the ball was eventually cleared away by the Longford defence.
Shelbourne kept De Town pinned back for the opening 25 minutes or so before Longford started to come into the game. Dean Byrne, who was probably the Red and Black’s best performer on the night, laid it off to Anto Breslin on the left, he whipped in a cross that was headed just narrowly wide by Aaron Dobbs.
Only 10 minutes later, Byrne sent Breslin on his way again, this time the cross was pulled back for Sam Verdon but his shot went narrowly wide of the post.
Paul O’Conor was replaced by Jamie Hollywood just before half time after he picked up an injury.
The second half was all Longford Town. Neale Fenn’s side could have opened the scoring just 3 minutes in when Aaron Dobbs had a shot from close range but it was well saved by McCabe in the Shelbourne goal.
Longford really pressed the hosts back and had another chance on 57 minutes. Dean Byrne again going close but not close enough. He took a high ball down brilliantly before turning his man but his shot was high over the bar.
Shels struggled to get a foothold in the second half and had scarce opportunities to score as the game progressed. Some great pressure from Shane Elworthy and Aodh Dervin was causing the home side problems and they began to aimlessly hit it out of play.
Longford missed another opportunity just after the hour mark when Dean Byrne again beat his man and foud himself in space before laying it off to Sam Verdon who’s shot was hit straight into the hands of McCabe.
It felt as if it was not going to be De Town’s night and on 79 minutes, Shels got the winner. A challenge by Peter Hopkins was deemed a foul and a penalty was awarded. Conan Byrne stepped up and coolly slotted it into the bottom corner.
Longford bombarded the Shels goal with wave after wave of attack for the remaining minutes but it wasn’t to be as the final whistle blew with the home side gaining all 3 points in a game that De Town didn’t deserve to lose but will rue their missed chances.
Shelbourne: McCabe, Friel, Fitzgerald, Marku, Brennan, Farrell, Rooney, Brennan, English (replaced by Byrne), Moore (replaced by Noone), Kilduff.
Subs: Delany, O’Hanlon, Moorehouse, McKenna, Connolly,
Longford Town: Lee Steacy, Shane Elworthy, Mick McDonnell, Conor Kenna, Anto Breslin, Sam Verdon, Paul O’Conor (replaced by Jamie Hollywood), Aodh Dervin, Dean Zambra (replaced by Jamie Doyle), Dean Byrne, Aaron Dobbs (replaced by Peter Hopkins).
Subs: Jack Menton, Karl Chambers, Joe Manley, Sean Brennan.