A spirited performance from Shelbourne drove the Reds to a 2-2 draw with Waterford at Tolka Park on Friday night.
In the St. Patrick's Day party atmosphere the two sides produced a great game on the pitch, with Derek Prendergast handing the home side an early lead, before goals from David McDaid and Kenny Browne gave the Blues the advantage.
It was Prendergast again, however, charging forward to meet a low Dayle Rooney cross on the break, who gave Shels a share of the spoils on the night.
The away side began with much of the early possession, roared on by usual vociferous support, but it was Shelbourne who managed the first chance of the half as a Dayle Rooney through ball nearly found Adam Evans all by himself.
The warning signs were not heeded, and with just nine minutes played a disorganised Waterford had fallen behind through a towering header from Prendergast, off a whipped free kick from Rooney.
Shelbourne pressurised the visitors from the get-go and were able to hold them off. However in the 19th minute, Kenny McEvoy slid past Reece McEnteer and crossed into the Shels box to find Derek Daly, but the youngster found the side netting.
The game became an end-to-end affair as chances flowed for David McDaid and Daly down one end and Evans and Rooney at the other, as both teams broke against each other.
But the Blues finished the half better, and called Shels' keeper Dean Delany into action numerous times.
A McDaid volley drew an excellent save from Delany with five minutes to go in the half, and the Shels goalkeeper then denied Garry Comerford with a brave dive at his feet.
However, the equaliser came through a Kenny Browne header from a Daly free kick right on the stroke of half time.
A tempered start to the second half saw clashes between McEvoy and Mark Hughes, who was booked, and with McDaid bumping a grounded Prendergast, while Shels substitute Niall Lanigan was left nursing a cut forehead.
Lanigan had a great chance in the 54th minute, his header from a corner just going wide, before Ian McLoughlin had a brief slip but recovered before Evans could pounce.
Shelbourne had the momentum but still had to call upon Delany to save from a Kenny McEvoy volley, before sloppy defending after a Kenny Browne knock down saw McDaid ghost into the back post and finish smartly.
The best chance for the Reds came in the 65th minute, another good delivery from Rooney saw Alan Byrne rise highest, but his header went agonisingly wide.
Waterford began to lose discipline as a constant concession of free kicks gave Rooney more chances to send balls in, but unlucky finishing and good goalkeeping from McLoughlin – diving out into a crowded box to clasp an Evans delivery – kept Shels at bay.
The Blues' resolve, however, was finally broken in the 79th minute. A corner from Daly whipped in was cleared and Rooney pounced down the left hand side.
Prendergast sprinted forward from his own box to meet Rooney's ball in, and a neat side-footed finish rippled McLoughlin's net, who could do nothing about it – 2-2 a deserved score.
Evans had a header denied just a minute later, before James English dragged a glorious opportunity wide with just six minutes remaining.
Momentum on the side of Shels, one final chance saw an English pull-back knocked away by McLoughlin. The home side will be happy with a point, Waterford will feel they have escaped with one.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; James Brown, Derek Prendergast, Aidan Collins (Niall Lanigan 46), Reece McEnteer; Lorcan Shannon (Jackson Ryan 71), Mark Hughes, Alan Byrne, Dayle Rooney, Adam Evans; James English.
Subs not used: Jamie Quinn, Dylan Grimes, Jason Caffrey.
Booked: Alan Byrne (31), Mark Hughes (48), Niall Lanigan (82), Reece McEnteer (88).
Waterford: Ian McLoughlin; Derek Daly (Mark O'Sullivan 82), Dave Mulcahy, Kenny Browne, Patrick McClean; Shane O'Connor, David McDaid, Garry Comerford, Tom Smith, Kenny McEvoy (Dean O'Halloran 69); Anthony McAlavey (Jake Evans 78).
Subs not used: Matthew Connor; Robin Dempsey, Gary Delaney; Dean Walsh.
Booked: Derek Daly (44), Garry Comerford (45+1).
Referee: Paula Daly
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Dayle Rooney (Shelbourne FC)
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