Mervue United 0
Defender Kevin Doherty made good on persistent pressure to power home a header to steal all the points for Shelbourne.
It was certainly no more than the visitors deserved after a scintillating first half hour, but there was enough in Mervue’s spirited second half performance for them to feel aggrieved.
Mervue’s storied opponents wasted little time in asserting their ascendancy and attacked with purpose throughout. With David McAllister pulling the strings in midfield and strikers Anthony Flood and Patrick Madden receiving free rein up front, the chances poured in from the sixth minute.
Only for the heroics of goalkeeper Eoin Martin and timely interventions from desperate home defenders, particularly Mark Ludden, the flood gates could, and arguably should, have opened as Shels squandered seven gilt edged chances in a domineering first.
After surviving on their luck Mervue re-emerged with a resolve to protect what they had. With the visitors’ search for an opener becoming more desperate there was space in which Mervue could now operate and play some football of their own. What ensued was competitive and entertaining with players such as Alex Lee and Rory Gaffney displaying a passing finesse in maroon.
The application was good from a home perspective as they began to make some attacking forays of their own. Indeed they could have taken a shock lead on 70 minutes as lone striker David O’ Dowd bore down on goal only for a dubious offside flag to be raised.
There was still much defending to do with Martin ingratiating himself to the home support by continuing a man-of-the-match display between the sticks. His saves from Peter Hynes and McAllister as well as the successful defence of a seemingly endless plethora of corners seemed to have merited a draw until Doherty burst the net in the 88th minute with an unstoppable point blank header.
Mervue United: Martin; O’Brien, O’ Rourke, Browne, Ludden; Goldbey (Lee 27 ), Curran (McGrath 75 ), Traynor, Tierney, Gaffney (Hoban 90 ); O’ Dowd.
Shelbourne: Delaney; Brennan, Keely, Doherty, Crawley; Cassidy, O’ Brien (Meenan 72 ), McAlister (Magill 90 ), Doyle; Flood, Madden (Hynes 56 )
Referee: K Callanan.