Former striker Karl Sheppard believes Shelbourne's openness at the back when they lose possession is a concern if it persists as the new season continues.
Shels are back in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division with a high-profile great of Irish soccer in Damien Duff in as a first-time manager, and while their opening game against St Patrick's Athletic saw an adventurous approach in attack, the Tolka Park side fell to a 3-0 defeat at home in Friday night's opener.
Speaking after the game, Duff exuded some of the positives he saw from his young side who are only coming together after a busy winter of incomings and outgoings.
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But the way in which Shels were opened up by a quality Pat's outfit after giving the ball away is something Sheppard feels needs to be addressed, as he told Monday's RTÉ Soccer Podcast.
"I was quite surprised with the narrative after the game of how well Shels did," he said.
"When you look at it, it could very easily have been five or six. I'd be slightly worried with how open Shels are when they lose the ball.
"They're very good on the eye and they try to play nice football and in fairness on a pitch that was quite poor, but when they lose it they're extremely open.
Listen to the RTÉ Soccer podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can watch Gary Rogers and Karl Sheppard's full review of the opening weekend below as well as an in-depth interview with Zack Elbouzedi:
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"As they found out on Friday, when you're that open in the Premier Division, you will get hurt.
"Darragh Burns' first goal was an absolute cracker from 20 yards into the top corner but I'm just slightly worried about how open Shels are for the season.
"They'll come up against slightly worse opposition but they'll also come up against better opposition who will definitely be able to hurt you."
GOAL ST PAT'S...!!— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) February 18, 2022
25mins: SHE 0-1 STP
Darragh Burns gives St Pat's the lead with a super strike from well outside the box. Top corner gives the keeper no chance.#RTESoccer
📺 Watch live - https://t.co/em2GdVBnkB…
📱 Live updates - https://t.co/Z9pd9Af0yS pic.twitter.com/uKntaCN3zp
Former Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers was also speaking on the podcast and believes Shels' ability to maximise their front foot approach will be helped when Arsenal loanee Jordan McEneff - a 61st minute substitute on Friday night - is fully eased into the starting team.
"Damien talked about dominating possession. I think with Mark Coyle and Aodh Dervin in the middle of the field, they're going to expect a lot from Jordan McEneff to really come in and dominate possession in games and that could be a difficulty for them," he said.
A template for that play-making role would be St Pat's midfield magician Chris Forrester who ran the show and earned the Player of the Match award.
Chris Forrester was named man of the match as St Pat's beat Shels 3-0, and it was for moments like this sublime piece of skill that the Saints midfield was rightly recognised. #RTESoccer pic.twitter.com/ZVY3QcDABt— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) February 18, 2022
"Last Friday, he was magnificent. He was a joy to watch on a pitch that was cutting up and was quite poor," said Sheppard.
"He was the one player who, every time he got it, tried to make something happen. You could see that he was brimming with confidence at the moment. Obviously, he's enjoying working with Tim (Clancy) but the one that got cleared off the line probably sums Chris Forrester up.
"It falls to him from a corner, at the edge of the box. Most players just whack it and try to score but he just dinks it over everyone and it's cleared off the line. But he was a joy to watch and he's probably one that this year, wouldn't surprise me come the end of the season if he's Player of the Year."
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