Shelbourne moved top of the First Division for the first time this season after edging out Athlone Town 1-0 at Tolka Park.

Ryan Brennan struck the only goal of the game as the Reds replaced Athlone at the summit, joining UCD on 15 points.

It was a result the home side fully deserved as they created a string of chances in the second half, hitting the woodwork twice, and should have had the points wrapped up sooner.


Shels carved out the first shot on target early on as Yoyo Mahdy strode in off the left wing and aimed a volley on goal, but it was comfortably saved by Mícheál Schlningermann.

The ever-dangerous James Doona produced Athlone's first chance of note when he cut in from the right and sent a well-struck drive just over the bar.

Shane Barnes turned a Jamie Hollywood cross just wide for the visitors, while Kevin O'Connor saw his free kick expertly tipped out of the bottom corner by Schlingermann.

Athlone had former Shels midfielder Dan McKenna to thank for remaining level at the break as he cleared a Luke Byrne header off the line in injury time.

Ian Morris’ Reds got the goal they craved ten minutes after the restart and it was down to the persistence of Brennan, who reacted first when his shot was blocked by a defender.

The Drogheda native took a touch before smashing a low drive into the corner that Jonathan Carlin could only help into the roof of the net.

Shane Farrell was next to test Schlingermann from distance before McKenna again came to his keeper’s rescue as he cleared Kevin O’Connor’s goalbound effort off the line.

Luke Byrne was desperately unlucky not to double the lead 12 minutes from time as his header hit the top of the bar and bounced over,.

Brian McManus drove just wide before the woodwork intervened once more, sub Dayle Rooney hitting the post after Georgie Poynton had rounded Schlingermann.

The missed chances were to have no material effect, however, as the home side held out comfortably to move top of the pile alongside UCD, with only goal difference between them.

Shelbourne: Brendan Clarke; Michael Barker, Ally Gilchrist, Luke Byrne, Kevin Oconnor; JJ Lunney, Brian McManus, Ryan Brennan Georgie Poynton 78); Shane Farrell (Dayle Rooney 73) Yoyo Mahdy (John Ross Wilson 82), Michael O'Connor.

Athlone Town: Mícheál Schlingermann; Philip Hand, Jonathan Carlin, Kilian Cantwell, Derek Daly; Dan McKenna, Jamie Hollywood (Brandon McCann 82), Kurtis Byrne (Jack Reynolds 79); Adam Wixted, James Doona, Shane Barnes (Stephen Meaney 72).

Referee: David Dunne.

Elsewhere, UCD came from behind to beat Treaty United 3-2 at the UCD Bowl. Goals from Sean Sweeney and Kieran Hanlon had the Limerick side in control, before Dara Keane pulled one back for the hosts just before the break. The comeback was completed inside the first ten minutes of the second period, with Sean Brennan and Harvey O'Brien on the mark.

Cabinteely left it late to defeat Cobh Ramblers as Mitchell Byrne got the only goal on 88 minutes.

Gary Shaw struck in injury time to snatch a 2-1 win for Bray Wanderers at Galway United. Earlier Joe Doyle had given the visitors a sixth-minute lead, before Ruairi Keating levelled on 34 minutes.

Cork City thumped Wexford FC at Turner's Cross. Cian Murphy, Darragh Crowley, Cian Murphy and two from Beineon O'Brien Whitmarsh, completed the rout.