Match Report by Tony Ghee
Longford Town progressed to the Quarter-Finals of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup with a comfortable two-nil victory over Shelbourne, as goals from Dylan McGlade and Daniel O’Reilly sealed a place in the last eight for the Midlanders for the second successive season.
It was a thoroughly deserved victory for the home side as they dominated proceedings and outplayed the visitors for much of the contest despite missing several key players.
Karl Chambers versatility was again demonstrated as he slotted in at left-back in the absence of Mick McDonnell, with Tristan Noack-Hofmann moving across to partner O’Reilly in the centre of defence.
Shane Elworthy and Peter Hopkins made welcome returns to the starting eleven after their injury absences and came through the game unscathed.
In the second minute, Dean Zambra gained possession and set-up Jamie Doyle, his shot was blocked, and Aodh Dervin fired the rebound just over the Shelbourne bar.
On nine minutes, superb wing wizardry from man-of-the-match McGlade bamboozled the Shels defence, and his cross resulted in Zambra glancing a header well wide from a good position.
Longford came close again in the nineteenth minute when the towering O’Reilly headed a McGlade cross inches over the bar.
Shels striker David O’Sullivan had the visitors first opportunity a minute later but he volleyed over from a John Ross Wilson cross.
The Dubliners enjoyed a good fifteen minute spell just after the half-hour mark creating three good chances.
On thirty-one minutes, Town keeper Mick Kelly produced a magnificent save to keep out Lorcan Fitzgerald’s close range strike from an Evans corner with Greg Moorehouse rifling the rebound over the crossbar.
Two minutes after that, Paddy Kavanagh skipped past the challenge of Town centre-back O’Reilly, raced in on goal, but just as he was about to pull the trigger, Noack-Hofmann got across to make a brilliant goal-saving challenge.
Just before half-time, Town keeper Kelly was called into action again as he kept out Gavin Boyne’s deflected long range strike.
Longford Town struck in first-half stoppage time as McGlade calmly despatched a penalty to the bottom left corner after he had been brought down by Reece McEnteer.
Town stopper Kelly produced a stunning save five minutes into the second-half. Kavanagh played in Adam Evans but his fifteen yard shot was brilliantly stopped by Kelly.
The home side were in the ascendancy for the rest of the match and on fifty-three minutes, O’Reilly’s downward header from McGlade’s corner produced a marvellous save from Dean Delaney.
In the sixty-fifth minute, a quick-fire one-two between McGlade and Doyle carved open the Shelbourne rearguard, McGlade surged into the box and his cut-back found Meenan just inside the penalty area, however, Meenan’s firm strike came back off the post.
Longford ensured victory on seventy-two minutes when O’Reilly volleyed home a McGlade corner to finally beat Shelbourne at the fourth attempt this season, and book the Town’s passage into the quarter-finals of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup.
Longford Town: Kelly, Elworthy (Tilou 94 minutes), O’Reilly, Noack-Hofmann, Chambers, Meenan, Dervin, Zambra, Hopkins (Dillon 90 minutes), Doyle, McGlade.
Shelbourne: Delaney, Ross Wilson, Prendergast, McEnteer, Fitzgerald, Moorehouse, Byrne (Boyne 26 minutes), Moore, Evans (Farrell 75 minutes), Kavanagh (English 57 minutes), O’Sullivan.
Referee: John McLaughlin (Athlone).