Mark Leech grabbed the only goal of the game as Shelbourne saw off the challenge of Wexford Youths with a 1-0 win at Tolka Park.

Leech rose highest to head home a Marc McCullough cross with 15 minutes remaining.

The visitors pressed hard but lacked the guile and creativity to break down the home defence that looked unsure of itself at times in the opening half.

Youths are one of the newest clubs in the league but Shelbourne could easily claim that tag, as they have a whole new team this season and have added to that new look during the past week.

The home side started with six of Dermot Keely’s transfer window singings and a seventh, Lee Roche, on the bench. Of the new boys, Mark Rooney seemed to settle the best.

With so many new faces Shelbourne struggled to find any fluidity in their play in the opening period.

Youths almost went in front inside 60 seconds when Kieran Harte volleyed just over his own crossbar after Craig McGuire had swung in a cross from the left.

Both sides had a couple of chances after that in a frenetic opening 15 minutes.

James Chambers and Mark Rooney went close for Shels, while Conor Sinnott and Andy Loughlin both tested Tony O’Dowd in the home goal.

With both sides sloppy in possession, clear-cut chances were hard to come by. Mark Leech spurned the best opportunity of the half on 26 minutes after good work by the right by Alan Murphy and Rooney.

The second half continued in the same manner as the first with plenty of effort from both teams but little skill.

On the hour mark, James Chambers should have put the home side ahead but he dragged a shot wide after good approach play by McCulloch.

Youths' goalkeeper Jason Russell twice denied Lee Roche as Shelbourne began to press for a winner. Anthony Flood then failed to convert Roche’s cross-cum-shot on 70 minutes.

However, Shelbourne were not to be denied and got the goal their endeavour deserved. With 15 minutes remaining, Leech headed the winner from another fine delivery by left-back McCullough.

Shelbourne: O’Dowd, Murphy, McCulloch, Keely, Malcolm, Rooney (Roche h/t), Chambers, O’Brien, Leech, Harte, Flood (Lacey ‘80). Subs: Hussey, Gartland, Curran.

Wexford Youths: J Russell, Lawlor, Wadding, A Russell, Malone, Kelly (Hawkins ‘83), O’Loughlin, Loughlin (Miller ‘52), Dempsey, Sinnott, McGuire (Brosnan ‘65). Subs not used: White, Harpur.

Referee: Derek Tomney.