Shelbourne and Dundalk played out some intriguing games during their heyday, but the fare this time at Tolka Park was poor.

The inclusion of Dundalk and Shelbourne in the First Division caused quite a bit of controversy, and of the two only the Louthmen came into the game with a victory from the first two series of games.

While Dundalk had retained the bulk of their team which had beaten Waterford in last seasons promotion relegation play-off, Shels again fielded a youthful team.

In a disappointing first half Dermot Keely’s hastily cobbled together crew were at sea, but even so Dundalk could only muster a few long range efforts, and a decent overhead kick from Philip Hughes.

With the Shelbourne defence slow to clear the lines with three minutes on the clock, the vastly experience Hughes struck the ball into the arms of Tony O’Dowd.

That was pretty much it until the sixteenth minute when Ciaran Ryan caught the Dundalk defence out when he set up Glen Lacey, but the latter shot wide of goal.

Darren McKenna and Brian Gartland both went close with headers while John Flanagan and Philip Hughes tried their luck from distance for Dundalk.

Neither team looked impressive, although Hughes almost light up the match with an acrobatic effort on the stroke of half time.

His opposite number McKenna really have should have broken the deadlock just after the interval, but his lob was off target.

Shels were left to rue that miss when a right wing cross from John Flanagan led to panic in the home defence.

Hughes ran onto Flanagan’s pass, enticed O’Dowd and slotted the ball home, beyond a flailing Shels leg.

With twenty minutes remaining Dundalk were reduced to ten men after Ben Whelehan was sent-off for a foul on the edge of the penalty area.
Shels failed to make their advantage tell with the resultant free and let the visitors in for a third goal late in the game.

With Conor Rafferty and Tony O’Dowd slow to react, Sean Williams gathered a Cathal O’Connor pass to score.