Former Shelbourne manager Alan Mathews believes that the return of the Dublin club to the SSE Airtricity Premier Division is a major boost for the league.

Shelbourne ended a six-year spell in the First Division on Friday evening when a 3-1 victory away to Drogheda United saw them confirmed as champions and earned them a return to the Premier Division.

The game turned on a red-card for Drogheda's Ryan Brennan with Shels using the extra man well as Aiden Friel, Oscar Brennan and Lorcan Fitzgerald scored the goals that confirmed the Tolka Park’s side return to the top flight.

Shels were pushed all the way by Drogheda throughout the season and while they were the heavy favourites to win the title before the season started, Mathews was still impressed by their efforts and achievement.

Speaking on the RTÉ Soccer Podcast he said: "It’s a really good achievement. I think they were favourites to go up but that’s easier said than done.

"They worked really, really hard to get themselves into a position where they had it their hands with two games to go.

"Going up to United Park to a resurgent Drogheda who have got themselves right into the mix, to come away with a 3-1 victory is a great testament to the players.

"Some of those lads that were there when I was there, the likes of Conan Byrne, Lorcan Fitzgerald, they’ve given great service to that football club and it’s good to see them still at it, still doing their stuff and still able to get results.

"A lot of hard work went on behind the scenes. I know they got a new owner in last year and they brought Ian Morris in but there’s still people like Joe Casey, Colin Murphy and Eamon White still working behind the scenes there."

The return of Shels to the top flight means the return of some of the biggest Dublin derby games as Shels can look forward to games against Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers next season.

Mathews believes that the Premier Division will be a more vibrant place with Shelbourne back in it.

"Coming back into the Premier Division next year they’ll add good support, good atmosphere around the grounds," he said.

"When we came up the last time I was there, our first league game was against Sligo and the ground was  sold out – the kick-off was delayed with the amount of people coming to it.

"So they’ll bring an awful lot of vibrant support and interest around the big Dublin derbies and it’s good to have a club like Shels back in the Premier Division."

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