Mulvenna breaks Shelbourne hearts at Oriel Park
Just reward for Stephen Kenny’s men as Shels end game with 10 men
Drogheda United’s Tiarnan Mulvenna scored the decider. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Tiarnan Mulvenna’s 87th-minute strike broke Shelbourne hearts at Oriel Park as Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk returned to winning ways.
Mulvenna, a 69th-minute substitute for Vinny Faherty, latched on to a pass from captain Stephen O’Donnell to toe-poke the ball through the legs of Shelbourne goalkeeper Ger Hanley.
It was just reward for Kenny’s men. Dundalk controlled things for much of the game but it looked like 10-man Shels, who had Brian Shortall sent off in the 78th minute, had done enough to hold on for a point.
A poor first half saw little in the way of chances. Former Dundalk goalkeeper Hanley was able to watch a Dane Massey header fly over in the 21st minute and Keith Ward shot well wide soon after.
The young goalkeeper did breathe a sigh of relief in the 42nd minute when John Dillon jinked past Jack Memery to let fly with a vicious effort but it went just over the top.
Bit between their teeth
Much of Dundalk’s best football has come in the second half of matches this season and they returned after the interval with the bit between their teeth.
The Lilywhites were almost in front in the 48th minute. Hanley, under pressure from Faherty, let a John Sullivan ball slip from his grasp but O’Donnell – who came through a crowd of bodies to win the rebound – was unlucky to see his effort hit the inside of the post.
Kenny threw Darren Meenan, Mulvenna and Patrick Hoban into the fray. Mulvenna was involved in the incident that saw the visitors reduced to 10 men when Shortall was shown a straight red for an of- the-ball incident.
Dundalk pushed forward in numbers after that and O’Donnell thought he had finally broken Shelbourne’s resistance with a fantastic left-footed volley from 20 yards that dipped at the last minute and hit the top of the crossbar.
The visitors looked like they had done enough to secure a draw but Mulvenna popped up with three minutes to go to snatch it for Dundalk.