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Shelbourne 2-1 Shamrock Rovers

Updated: Saturday, 15 Sep 2012 11:21 | Comments

Philly Hughes was the hero for Shelboure
Philly Hughes was the hero for Shelboure

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Shelbourne advanced to the semi-finals of the FAI Ford Cup following a 2-1 victory over ten-man Shamrock Rovers at Tolka Park on Friday evening to continue the current crisis for the Tallaght outfit.

Shels opened the scoring through Philip Hughes on the half-hour and Rovers cause was handicapped by the 42nd minute sending-off of Oman for a professional foul committed on Hughes.

Hughes looked to have sealed his side’s semi-final berth with a 71st minute header but substitute Sean Gannon added life to Rovers’ flagging challenge by scoring in injury-time.

Following a week of turmoil in which they lost to bitter rivals Bohemians and subsequently let manager Stephen Kenny go, the Hoops could well end the season without a place in Europe to look forward to.

The visitors, adopting a five-man midfield strategy, looked slightly edgy at the outset but enjoyed the better of the early chances with Ciaran Kilduff volleying narrowly wide in the ninth minute after a Thomas Stewart knock-down.

Kilduff returned the compliment three minutes later, rising above Stephen Paisley to place Stewart with a diving header from ten yards that Chris Bennion did well to parry to safety.

There was little to see from Shelbourne from an attacking perspective other than a 16th minute raid down the right by Philip Hughes, whose attempt to find strike-partner Philip Gorman was intercepted by Ken Oman.

With the game appearing to experience a lull, Shane O’Connor was guilty of losing possession in the 30th minute with David Cassidy exacting full punishment by racing clear before finding Hughes, who has the simplest of tasks in sweeping the ball beyond Oscar Jansson from 14 yards.

Jansson performed heroics in keeping out a Stephen Paisley volley two minutes later as the defensive uncertainties that plagued Stephen Kenny’s reign resurfaced and in the 42nd minute, matters deteriorated further for the visitors.

There appeared little threat as Cassidy gained possession thirty yards from his own goal but a sublime pass found Hughes racing through between Pat Sullivan and Oman with the latter’s desperate lunge to deny Hughes earning the red card it merited.

The second-half resumed with chances at either end with Stewart guilty of blazing over from the edge of the area when well-placed in the 49th minute while Jansson once again excelled in beating out a dipping Cassidy volley four minutes later.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Hoops looked threatening, especially when bringing Kilduff into play with the former UCD player having two headed chances that just cleared Chris Bennion’s crossbar.

The Hoops, despite an improved showing after the break, looked susceptible to the counter-attack and they were duly punished in the 71st minute as Paddy Kavanagh raced clear down the right to deliver a pinpoint cross onto the head of Hughes, who powered home from close range.

Shels wasted chances to add to their lead as the tie evolved and they were almost left to rue their profligacy when substitute Gannon scrambled home from close range but his goal proved of mere consolation by the final whistle.

Shelbourne: Bennion; Ryan, Boyle, Paisley, S Byrne; Cassidy, Cronin (Hurley, 44), Dawson, Kavanagh; Gorman (P Byrne, 54), Hughes (Murphy, 86).

Shamrock Rovers: Jansson; Gilbert, Sullivan, Oman, O’Connor; Stewart (Kavanagh, 74), Rice (Gannon, 46), Brennan, Finn, McCabe (McCormack, 46); Kilduff.

Referee: A Kelly (Cork)

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