Shelbourne look to have the eircom Premier Division title race wrapped up after a hard-fought 2-0 defeat of managerless Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.

A first-half stunner from Stuart Byrne and a lucky own-goal after the restart earned Pat Fenlon’s men all three points, as Rovers failed to score for the seventh game in a row.

Shels made a couple of changes from Friday’s draw with Drogheda, as Alan Moore and Jamie Harris replaced Greg O’Halloran and Bobby Ryan.

Rovers, in their first game since the departure of manager Sean Connor, welcomed back captain Michael McNamara and Gavin Peers, while top scorer Darren Mansaram was recalled up front.

Interim manager Gareth Gorman was forced to make two changes in the first 20 minutes, as both Harpal Singh and Mansaram picked up injuries and Shels enjoyed the brighter start, with both Glen Crowe and Gary O’Neill causing trouble.

But it was defender Jamie Harris that went closest. He met Joseph Ndo’s cross on 11 minutes, but his header hit the wrong side of the bar.

Some sloppy Shels defending earned the home side four early corners, but Steve Williams dealt with everything that came his way

At the other end Ollie Cahill forced a great save off Richard Brush on 24 minutes, and from the subsequent corner Crowe smashed Moore’s corner off the bar.

But Shels were not to be denied, another corner dropped invitingly to Stuart Byrne at the edge of the box, and he scored on the half-volley.

Byrne’s next action was to get booked for a foul on Rovers sub John Bellew.

Richie Baker, on for the injured Ndo, who is likely to miss the remainder of the season, went close just before the break but his shot was deflected for a corner, while a Moore free-kick from the edge of the box flew past the far post.

Rovers came out with a renewed vigour for the second-half, however, and Fahrudin Kudozovic saw a superb 35-yard effort bounce off the top of the crossbar six minutes into the half, and two minutes later Paul McTiernan forced a save from Williams with a snapshot.

But Shels remained the dominant force and Gary O’Neill’s cross was deflected just before it reached Crowe in the box.

From the resulting corner, Colin Hawkins headed narrowly wide.

O’Neill blasted over from the edge of the area on 58 minutes, while Baker’s cross narrowly missed centre-back Harris.

At the other end, Conor O’Grady burst into the box and crossed for McNamara, but he could not get his header on target.

McNamara’s brave header prevented Crowe connecting with another Moore corner on 67 minutes, but the follow-up corner created Shels insurance goal.

The ball few across the goal and as a Shelbourne player headed the ball back in, Adam Hughes tried to intercept, but his header caught Brush flat-footed and crept over the line.

McTiernan and Foy went close late on as Rovers tried to end their miserable scoreless run.

Shels had the ball in the net a third time, Sean Dillon’s cross evading everyone, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush, Gavin Peers, Michael McNamara, Jamie MacKenzie, Keith Foy, Fahrudin Kudozovic, Conor O’Grady, Adam Hughes, Harpal Singh (Gary Curran 4), Paul McTiernan, Darren Mansaram (John Bellew 20).
Subs not used: John O’Hara, Seamus Coleman, Choice Aisien.

Shelbourne: Steve Williams, Jamie Harris, Sean Dillon, Colin Hawkins, Dave Rogers, Joseph Ndo (Richie Baker 27), Alan Moore (Greg O’Halloran 82), Stuart Byrne, Ollie Cahill, Gary O’Neill, Glen Crowe (Jason Byrne 75).
Subs not used: Dean Delaney, Bobby Ryan.

Referee: Anthony Buttimer.