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Shelbourne 0, Dundalk 3

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Shelbourne 0 - 3 Dundalk

By Keith Wallace

Two late goals from substitute Paul Crowley sealed a victory for Dundalk on Friday night, as the Lilywhites exacted revenge with a clinical 3-0 defeat of their First Division title rivals Shelbourne in the FAI Ford Cup Third Round at Tolka Park. Crowley added to Trevor Vaughan’s first-half penalty to shoot Dundalk through to the last sixteen, as they avenged last month’s home loss to the Reds with a knockout blow.

The visitors’ task was made easier by the dismissal of Shels centre-half Alan Keely before the break for a kick on Robbie Martin, however, by that point, Dundalk were already in front thanks to a moment of madness from James Keddy. Just past the quarter-hour, the ex-Lilywhite winger inexplicably handled inside the area, with Vaughan easily dispatching the resulting spot-kick to the net. From thereon, John Gill’s men were rarely troubled, as the hosts had to wait until almost midway through the second-half for a shot-on-target.

When it came, however, goalkeeper Chris Bennion was equal to the task as he palmed out James Chambers’ powerful drive from a tight angle. And, soon after, Dundalk made sure of their passage to the fourth round, as Crowley - only on the pitch five minutes - finished well following a flowing move which ended with Martin chesting the ball down to the midfielder. The 27-year-old then doubled his tally late on as he headed in from a David Cassidy corner, to complete Dundalk’s first away win in the Cup in three years.

For the short trip south, manager John Gill was allowed the very rare luxury of fielding the same starting eleven for the second match running. Not since defeating Shelbourne 3-0 thirteen months and 44 games ago had that last happened, however, with five players again out injured, the boss’ options were limited. Sitting in the stands were captain Aidan Lynch, vice-captain John Flanagan, defender Ian Ryan, striker Robbie Farrell and back-up ‘keeper Aaron Shanahan. The injured Shanahan still sat on the bench, however, Gill only had three subs who have played league football this season to call on.

Shels created the opening two chances of the evening. Firstly, experienced winger Mark Rutherford fired inches wide from ten-yards after being set-up by Anto Flood. Then, moments later, Flood himself failed to find the target when clean through, as he shot poorly wide with just Chris Bennion to beat, after David Freeman had capitalised on a wayward pass by the visiting backline to assist his strike partner. And, the Reds were made to rue those early missed opportunities on 17 minutes, as Dundalk took the lead from the penalty spot. Stand-in left-back James Keddy stupidly punched the ball away inside the box, with spot-kick specialist Trevor Vaughan stepping-up to easily roll the ball into the net.

With no further openings, the game was further changed seven minutes before the break, as, for the fifth time in the meetings between these sides this season, a player saw red. After winning a free-kick for a foul by Robbie Martin, Shels defender Alan Keely appeared to kick the striker in the nuts while lying on the ground - a challenge which prompted referee Tomas Connolly to produce a straight red card. Home captain Damien Brennan was also issued with a yellow card - of which there were eight in total on the night - for his protestations.

Following the resumption, Dundalk soaked up anything - which was very little - that Shels could throw at them, and the Lilywhites should have doubled their advantage on 62 minutes. Martin laid on a perfect pass for Vaughan, however, the veteran’s effort from the edge of the box was thwarted by a fine stop from Shels ‘keeper, Dean Delaney. And, following that let-off, the hosts almost found an equaliser within seconds, with their first shot-on-target of the match. James Chambers broke in on the right of the area, however, his powerful shot from a tight angle was pushed out by Bennion, before the Scot easily gathered Philly Hughes’ tame rebound.

What was Shels’ first meaningful effort on Bennion of the evening also proved to be their last, and Dundalk sealed their place in the next round seven minutes later as they made it 2-0. A neat, flowing move from the visitors ended with Martin chesting down to Crowley, who, from 15-yards, made no mistake as he dispatched the ball to the bottom right-hand corner of Delaney’s net. Upon Tiarnn Mulvenna’s entry, Dundalk caused even more problems, and they completed their scoring on 85 minutes. Mulvenna forced the corner, and David Cassidy’s pinpoint delivery was met in the six-yard box by the head of Crowley, who hit the net from close-range.

SHELBOURNE FC (4-4-2): Dean Delaney; Alan Murphy, Alan Keely, Damien Brennan, James Keddy (Alan Mulcahy 79); David McGill, Mark O’Brien, James Chambers, Mark Rutherford; Anto Flood (Keith Dunne 85), David Freeman (Philip Hughes 56).
Booked: D McGill (19), D Freeman (35), D Brennan (39), A Flood (52).
Sent-Off: A Keely (38).

DUNDALK FC (4-4-2): Chris Bennion; Paul Marney, Ben Whelehan, David Crawley, Shane Grimes; Jamie Duffy (Paul Crowley 66), Paul Shiels, David Cassidy, Davie O’Connor (Paul Smyth 84); Trevor Vaughan (Tiarnn Mulvenna 79), Robbie Martin.
Goals: T Vaughan (pen. 17), P Crowley (71, 85).
Booked: B Whelehan (27), T Vaughan (36), S Grimes (47), D Cassidy (69).

Referee: Tom Connolly (Dublin).


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