By Johnny Ward and Tony O'Donoghue

The FAI is investigating potential unusual betting patterns prior to and during the recent Shelbourne-Limerick FC clash in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.

Shelbourne's odds were slashed from 5-4 into 2-7 before the match last Friday, even though the Dubliners went into the game sitting two points below the Shannonsiders in the table.

Shels won the game 2-0. It was a dominant victory and the home side could have had many more if not for the sensational Jack Brady in goals for Limerick.

"We are looking into the betting on this game," an FAI source told RTÉ Sport.

As a UEFA protocol, there is a memorandum of understanding between the governing body and betting companies, which requires the latter to report any potentially unusual patterns. 

The UEFA betting fraud detection department will then liaise with the national body.

Previous FAI investigations, such as that into an Athlone Town game in 2017, were led by the disciplinary regulations officer Rea Walshe, who is the association's current interim chief executive.

The integrity officer at the time of the Athlone case was FAI competitions director Fran Gavin.

Data seen by RTÉ Sport on the betting in-running on the game illustrates that the odds on Shelbourne winning the game by more than one goal contracted substantially between kick-off and their opening goal on 38 minutes.

This is the opposite to what should happen statistically, though it is possible that Shelbourne's dominance in the game had encouraged spectators watching to bet on them winning.

Several bookmaker sources have been in touch with RTÉ Sport about what they deemed to be irregular betting on the game.