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Thursday 19 October 2017

Shels ready for away day

Shelbourne boss Owen Heary
Shelbourne boss Owen Heary

For three decades, in a battle between the red corner of Shelbourne and the blue one of Waterford, there could only have been one winner.

Times change, of course, and Shels are no longer the full-time outfit feeding on a diet of European games, well ahead of a second-tier Waterford side.

The Blues are very much on-song, Waterford about to seal the First Division title, using playing resources and playing in front of home attendances that their rivals in the second tier can only dream of.

"It's not just me, I am sure every manager in this division would love to have the financial backing, and the squad, that Waterford have," says Shelbourne boss Owen Heary.

"So often in the past, Shels would have been the favourites to beat Waterford but things have moved on, they have had big investment, they are heading back to the top division, and it's tough to play against them.

"Their strikers, David McDaid and Mark O'Sullivan, are Premier Division players really, Kenny Browne is a Premier Divison player, so they are a very good side."

The challenge for the Reds manager this evening is to take his side down the M9 and face up to Waterford in the FAI Cup. With three all-Premier ties this weekend, some big names will exit the Cup at the first hurdle and should Waterford progress, the odds on them lifting the trophy will shorten.

Shels have no chance of promotion this season but Heary, who twice won the Cup as a player, is upbeat for tonight's tie despite the gulf in finances.

"We played Waterford twice this year, we got two draws and they were lucky to beat us once," says Heary.

"Alan Reynolds, their manager, said he will be glad when they have played us for the last time.

"I know the odds are against us tonight, but our away form is very good, the best away record in the division. We won't fear them," he added.

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