Dundalk made their exit from the Leinster Senior Cup on Friday night as Shelbourne took full advantage of playing against ten men for 85 minutes at Oriel Park.
As expected, Stephen O’Donnell made a host of changes to his side for the club’s 200th appearance in the competition with Peter Cherrie, Robbie Benson, and Robbie McCourt all named in the starting XI for the first time this season.
The outcome of the game was shaped as early as the fifth minute when Hayden Muller was shown a straight red card by referee Rob Harvey after taking Matty Smith down just outside the box.
From the subsequent free-kick, Peter Cherrie turned Evan Caffrey’s effort around the post but the Scot was helpless to prevent Jack Moylan from driving a low shot into the bottom corner three minutes later.
After clearing the cobwebs, Dundalk responded well and they looked good going forward with Benson, Ward, Ryan O’Kane, and McCourt all firing efforts at the Shels goal within a five-minute period approaching the half hour.
Their willingness to get men forward left the Lilwhites exposed at the back, however, and they were let off the hook in the 25th minute when Wasiri Williams had his pocket picked by Moylan in the penalty area but the Shels player overhit his square pass to Kyle Robinson who had an open goal at his mercy.
The visitors weren’t as wasteful 10 minutes later. David Toure’s clever pass set Moylan away on the inside right and on this occasion he did find Robinson who tapped the ball home at the far post.
HT: Dundalk FC 0-2 Shelbourne
Benson flashed a right-footed effort wide of the upright in the 53rd minute after a sensational turn and run from his own half by the impressive Alfie Lewis and Shane Griffin did well to block a Cami Elliott drive ass Dundalk pushed for a way back into the tie after the interval.
Teenager Sean Bannon came off the bench to replace McCourt and make his first-team debut with 62 minutes played and he was joined by fellow academy players Eoin Kenny, Anthony Moyo, Conor O’Gorman, and Dualta Honney in the latter stages.
Pleasingly for O’Donnell, Robbie Benson also banked 75 minutes ahead of next week’s showdown with Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park.
The tie was put to bed in the 67th minute when Evan Caffrey found himself with time and space to pick his spot despite the best efforts of Cherrie and substitute Gbemi Arubi rounded off the scoring late on to secure Damien Duff’s side a place in the last eight.
FT: Dundalk FC 0-4 Shelbourne
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie, Archie Davies, Wasiri Williams, Hayden Muller, Robbie McCourt (Sean Bannon 62), Alfie Lewis, Robbie Benson (Anthony Moyo 75), John Martin (Dualta Honney 85), Keith Ward, Ryan O’Kane (Conor O’Gorman 85), Cameron Elliott (Eoin Kenny 74). Subs not used: Craig Moore, Luke Mulligan, Jake Hough, Mark Byrne (GK)
SHELBOURNE: Scott van der Sluis, David Toure, Andrew Quinn, Shane Griffin (Lewis Temple 74), Kameron Ledwidge, Shane Farrell (Sean Cummins 83), Brian McManus, Jack Moylan (Gavin Molloy 60), Evan Caffrey (Gbemi Arubi 74), Kyle Robinson, Matty Smith (Tyreke Wilson 60). Subs not used: John Ross Wilson, Harvey Nugent (GK).
REFEREE: Robert Harvey.