Dundalk and Shels can’t be separated

THE first meeting between Dundalk and Shelbourne since 2008 ended in a scoreless draw at Oriel Park on Friday night.

THE first meeting between Dundalk and Shelbourne since 2008 ended in a scoreless draw at Oriel Park on Friday night.

Shels held the upper hand in the first-half. Alan Matthews’ men continually played their way through the Dundalk midfield but they just couldn’t find the killer pass when they reached the 18-yard box.

Former Lilywhite Philip Hughes had a couple of sightings which he fired off target before Brendan McGill looped an effort over the top from 20-yards with Dundalk keeper Peter Cherrie back-peddling.

The Tolka Park outfit finished the half strongly. Paddy Kavanagh drew a fine stop from Cherrie with a blistering 25-yard effort in the 39th minute and Dundalk were thankful for Liam Burns a minute later, the centre-back blocking Hughes’s goal-bound effort.

The home side lacked any sort of fluency in the attacking third. Bob McKenna, prolific at youth level, came in for his first team debut and held the ball up well but was given little encouragement by the Shels back four.

Sean McCaffrey’s side were limited to set-pieces with Chris Shields heading over from inside the six-yard box and Robert Waters unlucky not to get on the end of a Stephen McDonnell free-kick.

Shels lacked the rhythm with which they finished the first-half but they were presented with another clear cut chance just past the hour mark when the ball fell invitingly to Conan Byrne. However the experienced midfielder could only drag his shot wide when well placed.

Dundalk raised the tempo in the final 20 minutes and Michael Rafter and Gary Shanahan both missed opportunities to win all three points for the home side who have now failed to score in five of their six league outings to date.

Dundalk: Cherrie; Mountney, Burns, Foran, McLaughlin; Walsh, Shields, McDonnell, Waters (Thomas HT); McKenna (Shanahan 70), Rafter (O’Neill 76).

Shelbourne: Skinner; Shorthall, Paisley, Ryan, S Byrne; C Byrne (Murphy 63), Dawson, Cassidy, McGill; Hughes, Kavanagh (Hurley 81).

Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin).

Attendance: 1362.