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10-man Shels see it out for victory

Airtricty League: Finn Harps 0-1 Shelbourne

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WINNER: Ryan Brennan

WINNER: Ryan Brennan

SPORTSFILE

WINNER: Ryan Brennan

Sixteen years to the day from a famous European win over Hadjuk Split that left the club just one qualifying tie away from the Champions League, Shelbourne secured an against-the-odds win that was important for very different reasons.

This year is a survival mission for Ian Morris' side as they attempt to establish themselves as a top-flight side again after a long financial struggle that can be traced back to the cost of those European ambitions.

The cramped 18-game season has put pressure on all of the Premier protagonists and, after a flaccid display in defeat to Waterford on Saturday, the Shels bench temporarily looked despondent when Karl Sheppard received an 11th-minute red card for a high challenge on Kosovar Sadiki.

Instead, they regrouped to eke out an unlikely win against a disappointing Finn Harps side that looked unsure of themselves despite the numerical advantage.

It was a double blow for the Donegal club who were very hopeful that the Government would increase the limit on attendances to 500.

They allowed 50 loyal fans into this fixture to fill up the 200 threshold and as they have a low number of season-ticket holders compared to other clubs, they would have benefited financially from an extension.

Ollie Horgan's side would have fancied their chances of becoming just the second team to win at home since the restart when Sheppard was sanctioned.

Instead, it was Shels that showed more spark and it was a raid from left full Alex O'Hanlon which delivered the winner with the former Liverpool trainee sending in a cross that was dispatched by Ryan Brennan following a well-timed run. Shels just had to defend resolutely to gain their reward.


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