Emotional week for Shelbourne topped off with a clinical first home win of the season

Goals from Jack Moylan and Sean Boyd give hosts the edge against sloppy Sligo.

Shels attacker Jack Moylan (file pic).
Shels attacker Jack Moylan (file pic).
Image: Ben Whitley/INPHO

Shelbourne 2
Sligo Rovers 1

David Sneyd reports from Tolka Park

A LITTLE BIT of spray paint was required to update the ‘Save Tolka Park’ banner that was unfurled as the players emerged for kick-off.

Now Shelbourne fans can also finally paint the town red after a first home Premier Division win of the season.

It took seven attempts but two cracking goals from Jack Moylan and Sean Boyd secured all three points in Drumcondra.

The Shels faithful were already on seventh heaven this week after Dublin City Council announced that the plans to rezone this famous old cathedral of Irish football for residential use would be binned.

Tolka Park has been saved.

That ‘D’ is what was added to the banner, and this win only added to the sense of euphoria.

It was well earned, too, Moylan and Boyd delivering two moments of class in the first half before they stuck together as a unit to ensure Paddy Kirk’s 64th minute strike would not lead to a revival.

Shels held firm and boss Damien Duff, serving the first of his three-game ban following a red card last week, watched from the back of the stand behind the goal where the opening goals were scored.

sean-boyd-celebrates-scoring-with-shane-farrell Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

This being Tolka Park, and that being the ‘New Stand’ built towards the end of late chairman Ollie Byrne’s tenure, it is actually deemed unsafe for supporters.

It will be knocked down as part of Tolka’s badly-needed rejuvenation but at least it will be one which has a thriving football club at its core and beating heart.

A win like this one, blended together with guile, skill and grit, is a timely reminder of why so many bonds have been formed as part of its history.

It’s one that shouldn’t be allowed to be stripped of the essence that makes it special.

This week will go down in lore for many around here and the result only boosted the sense of optimism.

On the pitch this season, Shels’ own mistakes have cost them dear in the previous six games at home this term.

Giving away possession in their defensive third or in central areas around midfield have left them exposed, and then ruthlessly punished.

For the first 25 minutes or so here it seemed as if errors with their final ball around Sligo’s 18-yard box might be their downfall.

Moylan has his head down after a neat swivel on the half turn allowed him drive towards the penalty area.

Conor Kane was in support on the left, roaring for the easy pass to be slid into his path, but Moylan ignored it and attempted a shot himself.

The crowd groaned collectively, Kane gave Moylan a piece of his mind too, but on 23 minutes they were all celebrating the young attacker’s tunnel vision.

His opening goal was a beauty, a deft curler from the edge of the area that arrowed into the top right corner.

damien-duff-before-the-game Damien Duff (file pic). Source: Ben Whitley/INPHO

If the vision was about grace and composure, the build up was all about the tenacity of John Ross Wilson, the right wing back charging forward to close down the sloppy Adam McDonnell who attempted a clever turn out of trouble.

Sligo as a unit were second to every ball as Shels controlled possession, and the second which came two minutes before the break was again the product of controlled aggression and clinical finishing.

This time Boyd was the one placing a lovely finish into the top corner, in almost identical circumstances to Moylan, and it was left wing back Conor Kane who had provided the energy with a cross from that side.

Boyd made a beeline for the Shels bench, lept into the welcoming embrace of O’Brien, and gave his side breathing space at the break.
It was just as well.

Sligo made a double substitution try and liven up their limp display, introducing Jordan Hamilton and Max Mata, and just after the hour they halved the deficit when Paddy Kirk rifled home a shot into the roof of the net.

It shook Shels for a short spell, understandable given the season so far, but they regrouped and held firm.

Barring some hopeful balls into the box and a couple of long-range efforts there was no need to worry.

Shels have had enough worry recently, this week has at leased some of that.

SHELBOURNE: Clarke; Wilson, O’Driscoll, Byrne, Griffin, Kane; Farrell, Coyle, Lunney (Dervin 62); Moylan (Carr 87); Boyd.

SLIGO ROVERS: McGinty; Banks, Pijnaker, McCourt, Kirk; Fitzgerald (Mata HT), Bolger (Keogh 77), McDonnell, Cawley, Byrne (Hamilton HT); Keena (Heaney 77).

Referee: Ben Connolly

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