Waterford United – 1
Waterford United failed to defeat Shelbourne for the fourth time this season when they lost to the Dubliners in Tolka Park on Friday night last.
When the teams first met at this venue in the opening series of games they played out a thrilling 3-3 draw but there was such excitement this time around at the Drumcondra venue.
In the return game at the RSC the home side more than held their own against the Reds but they were beaten one nil and that was the outcome once again when the two sides met in the FAI Cup in Tolka Park.
This was by far the most one-sided meeting of the teams this season and it leaves the Blues with a mountain to climb to clinch a play-off position.
The Blues created the first chance of the game from a corner kick on five minutes when Jack Doherty sent over a corner kick from the left that found the head of Gary Delaney at the back post but his free header flashed inches over the crossbar when he should have hit the target.
Shelbourne were celebrating the first goal of the contest on 15 minutes when Lee Murtagh headed the ball out to the left side of the penalty area for Conor Murphy, who sent in a cross to the back post for Jordan Keegan to fire home from close range past a helpless Kevin Burns.
The hosts missed a glorious chance to double their advantage on 30 minutes when Jack Doherty failed to clear his lines deep inside the penalty area which allowed Conor Murphy to nip in but he somehow fired wide of the advancing keeper Kevin Burns when he should have found the back of the net.
Waterford had their only shot on target in the first half in the final minute when Kevin O’Connor took on the ball in the middle of the park before spraying the ball to the left for Andrew O’Connor, who brought the ball onto his right-foot but his shot was straight at keeper Greg Murray.
The Blues started on the front foot in the second half with the introduction of Philip Drohan, who crossed for Willie John Kiely within two minutes but he headed wide.
A quite magnificent save kept the Blues in the contest on 62 minutes when Adam McDonnell sent in a cross from the left side that fell to Conor Murphy, who arched back superbly before unleashing a left-footed shot that seemed destine for the net but Burns produced a moment of genius to turn the ball around for a corner kick.
The home side did find the net for the second time less than two minutes later when Conor Murphy outpaced Gary Delaney down the left hand side of the penalty area before putting the ball on the head of the unmarked Adam McDonnell, who planted the ball past keeper Kevin Burns from six yards.
The Blues however didn’t leave their heads drop as they pulled a goal back on 75 minutes when Willie John Kiely did well inside the penalty area to knock the ball back into the path of Conor Whittle and he drilled a low right-footed shot to the left comer of the net past the despairing dive of Shelbourne keeper Greg Murray.
Shelbourne regained their two goal advantage less than three minutes later when Dylan Connolly picked up possession of the ball down the left side of the park before crossing for Gareth Coughlan, who swept a left-footed deflected effort past a helpless Kevin Burns. That more or less brought the curtain down on this disappointing outing for the visitors.
SHELBOURNE: Greg Murray, Simon Dixon, Philip Hand, Conor Murphy, Jordan Keegan, Jake Donnelly, Dylan Connolly (Dylan Cashin ‘81), Gareth Coughlan, Lee Murtagh (Stephen McDonnell ‘58), Lee Desmond, Ryan Robinson (Michael Duffy ‘88).
WATERFORD UNITED: Kevin Burns,Conor Whittle, Gavin O’Donovan, Gary Delaney, Shaun Corcoran, Brian Nolan (Patrick Fitzgerald ‘71), Thomas Croke (Conor Coad ‘59), Kevin O’Connor, Andrew O’Connor (Philip Drohan ‘46), Jack Doherty, Willie John Kiely.
REFEREE: John McLoughlin (Athlone).