Shelbourne's Byrne on fire


Waterford Utd - 0 Shelbourne - 4 There was a packed house and a carnival atmosphere at the RSC prior to the kick-off last night as Waterford United celebrated their return to the top division after an absence of three seasons.

However, a determined Shelbourne quickly administered a sharp dose of reality to the occasion and had the home side on the ropes from the outset.

The Blues were subjected to immense pressure but it took an 18th-minute penalty to breach the home defence. A throw-in from the right by Owen Heary found Jason Byrne and, as he turned for goal, he was floored by a clumsy tackle from David Breen.

David Crowley drilled his shot straight at goalkeeper Gavin Morris but the force of the drive forced the ball out of his hands.

The visitors' second goal followed a suicidal back pass from Paul Leahy from all of 30 yards that bounced awkwardly off Morris's chest into the path of a grateful Stephen Geoghegan who walked the ball into an empty net.

Shelbourne struck for a third goal on 44 minutes. Thomas Morgan's free kick from the right sideline skidded through a forest of legs in the home goalmouth to the far post and Byrne scrambled the ball over the line.

The Dublin side went four up on 75 minutes when Byrne finished off a fine move from six yards following superb approach work by Richie Baker and Geoghegan.

WATERFORD UNITED: Morris; Leahy (O'Neill, 60 mins), Breen, Mulcahy, Byrne, Waters, Fitzgerald (Rockett, 72 minutes), O'Brien, Reilly (Cosgrove, 68 mins), Murphy, O'Sullivan.

SHELBOURNE: Williams; Heary, Crawley, Crawford, Doherty, Gannon, Cahill, Morgan (Oakes, 61 mins), Byrne, Geoghegan (McCarthy, 76), R Baker (D Baker, 82).

Referee: A Kelly (Cork).