Shelbourne manager Ian Morris. ©INPHO

Shelbourne scrape past Athlone to continue unbeaten start to First Division season

Elsewhere, UCD came from behind to beat Treaty United and Cork Cork had a big win at home to Wexford Youths.

Shelbourne 1
Athlone Town 0

Andrew Dempsey reports from Tolka Park

SHELBOURNE MAINTAINED THEIR unbeaten start to their First Division campaign thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Athlone Town.

Ryan Brennan’s 55th minute goal was enough to separate the sides as Ian Morris’ side moved into second position, behind UCD on goal difference.

Shelbourne and Athlone Town have been the early pacesetters in the First Division this season, with both occupying two of the top three positions before kick-off.

Athlone came into the game after losing their first league game of the season last weekend versus Cabinteely and made one change. Shels on the other hand made two changes from their late draw at home to Treaty United, with a first start of the season for defender Luke Byrne.

The Reds started the better of the two in the opening few minutes, and they should have taken the lead in the 2nd minute through Michael O’Connor. The former Waterford forward saw his shot blocked by an Athlone defender however as Adrian Carberry’s side held firm.

The visitors slowly grew into the game, despite a scare that saw Derek Daly turn the ball into his own net, with James Doona shooting just over the bar midway through the half.

While Athlone showed plenty of endeavour in attack, they had to rely on some fine goalkeeping and last-ditch defending to stay level at the half-time break.

Michael Schlingermann turned away Kevin O’Connor’s goal-bound free-kick on the half hour mark, before Daniel McKenna cleared off the line on the stroke of half-time from Ally Gilchrist’s header.

But just 12 minutes into the second-half, Shels broke the deadlock through Ryan Brennan. Brennan forced home after going on a great run through the heart of the defence – and profited from some hesitancy in the Athlone ranks.

McKenna was then forced to clear off his line again just past the hour mark after Michael O’Connor’s fierce shot, before Schlingermann then batted away Farrell’s ambitious long-range strike.

JJ Lunney then went close to doubling the Reds’ lead, but his curling shot was turned away from goal with just over ten to play.

Athlone struggled to create in the closing stages of the game – with their best opening coming from a near calamitous mistake from a hopeful Jamie Hollywood free-kick.

And that was how it ended despite a late Shels onslaught with Rooney hitting the post – as the hosts maintained their unbeaten start to the season – while Athlone fell to their second consecutive defeat.

Elsewhere, UCD came from 2-0 down to beat Treaty United 3-2 at the UCD Bowl. Gary Shaw struck in injury time to snatch a 2-1 win for Bray Wanderers at Galway United, while a late Mitchell Byrne goal saw Cabinteely record a 1-0 win at home to Cobh Ramblers. Cork City cruised to a comfortable 5-0 win over Wexford Youths.

Shelbourne: Brendan Clarke; Ally Gilchrist, Luke Byrne, Michael Barker, Kevin O’Connor; Shane Farrell (Dayle Rooney 72), Ryan Brennan (George Poynton 78), JJ Lunney, Brian McManus; Yoyo Mahdy (John Ross Wilson 83), Michael O’Connor.

Athlone Town: Mícheál Schlingermann; Derek Daly, Jonny Carlin, Killian Cantwell, Dylan Hand, Daniel McKenna; James Doona, Jamie Hollywood (Brandon McCann 84), Adam Wixted; Kurtis Byrne (c) (Jack Reynolds 79), Shane Barnes (Stephen Meaney 71).

Referee: David Dunne.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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