Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# Champions
Shels win in Drogheda to end six-year wait for return to top flight
10-man Drogheda pulled level in a dramatic final half hour, but Oscar Brennan tipped the balance back Shels’ way.

oscar-brennan-celebrates-scoring-his-sides-second-goal James Crombie / INPHO Brennan celebrates the decisive goal. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

EVEN WHEN REDUCED to 10 men for the final half hour, Drogheda didn’t let Shelbourne take the SSE Airtricity League crown and promotion without a fight.

Yet take it Shels did thanks to Oscar Brennan’s strike nine minutes from time, that proved too powerful for Luca Gratzer to keep out.

Lorcan Fitzgerald hit a third for the Tolka Park outfit to seal a 1-3 win in front of s sold-out United Park and give his side an unassailable six-point lead at the summit with one game remaining.

shelbournes-celebrate-after-aidan-friel-scored-his-sides-opening-goal James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

With so much riding on tonight’s top-of-the-table clash it was understandably tense through the first hour. A second yellow card for Sean Brennan handed Shelbourne the edge and they made their advantage count soon after through Aiden Friel’s drive from the edge of the area.

Luke McNally gave the hosts and their full house of 2,596 hope of at least forcing the title race to the final day when he hit the top corner with 13 minutes remaining. But the visitors made their upper hand count twice more to ensure they return to the top flight for the first time since their 2013 relegation.

shelbourne-fans-before-the-game James Crombie / INPHO Shelbourne fans celebrate. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Elsewhere, Cabinteely kept up the push for third with a 3-1 win over Athlone Town thanks to a double from Kieran Marty Watters midway through the first half. Rob Manley put the match beyond Athlone with a third goal in eight minutes for the Dublin outfit before Nika Kalandarishvili grabbed a consolation.

Marc Ludden ensured Cobh Ramblers suffered an embarrassing 7-1 defeat to the side one place below them in the table, Galway United, who lit up Eamonn Deacy park despite trailing to Cian Leonard’s goal at the half-time break.

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With Cobh seeing a man sent off in either half, Galway pushed open the floodgates with Stephen Walsh, Conor Barry and Conor Melody chipping in on top of Ludden’s impressive four-goal haul.

Limerick eased to a 4-1 win over bottom club Wexford. Shane Tracy, Karl O’Sullivan, Adam Foley and Lee Devitt Molloy were all on target before a late consolation for the visitors from Sean Roche.

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