Brendan Graham reporting from Tolka Park
Shelbourne dictated the opening half from the tip off with Adam Evans and Lorcan Fitzgerald particularly commanding throughout the half and dictating the play and passing for the home side.
From the tip off, Gaffney had to be alert with Adam Evans crossing the ball from the left which Gaffney tipped away. Better to be safe than sorry especially only twenty seconds into the game.
Wexford had one of only a few chances that came their way in the first half after five minutes. The two Kelly’s linking up from a corner. A Dean Kelly cross was met in the crowded box by Sean Kelly who directed his header towards goal but straight into the hands of Delaney.
This was to be the first of just a few chances that Wexford would get in the opening half with Shelbourne left back Lorcan Fitzgerald stepping up and dictating the game for the home side with some lovely link up play down the left with winger Adan Evans. Some superbly accurate cross field balls to switch the play and send Shane Farrell free down the right as quick as possible on a few occasions in the opening half gave the fans some hope for a positive outcome.
It took Shelbourne just six minutes to take the lead and it came from a set piece which Shane Farrell didn’t seem to know much about. A corner from Cian Kavanagh came off the back of Farrell’s head and into the bottom corner past Gaffney to give the home side the lead.
Alan Byrne went close moments later to extending the lead for Shelbourne heading his chance narrowly wide from a free kick. Fitzgerald was causing havoc with his set pieces.
Wexford were really struggling to keep a hold of the ball with any possession they managed to get and as a result of this were finding it hard to eke out any chances in front of goal and test Delaney. Aaron Dobbs and Shane Barnes had half chances for the away side as the first half wore on but nothing to even slightly worry the Shels rearguard with Dobbs almost being forced to take a shot from distance due to the lack of support as he advanced towards goal.
On the half hour mark Shelbourne doubled their lead and it again came from a superb set piece, this time from Cian Kavanagh who fed the ball into the box from a free kick on the left wing deep into the box for Prendergast at the back post. He headed back across the box and low past Gaffney to double their lead and a commanding lead at that.
Wexford were like a different team when they came out for the second half and had pulled a goal back just five minutes from the half kicking off.
They were looking a lot smarter in possession and creating a few chances in front of goal. Dean Kelly was the man who got the breakthrough against the run of play as he unleashed a powerful shot past Delaney to give Wexford a lifeline.
Shelbourne took a long time to get going in the second half and Owen Heary won’t have been happy with their sluggish approach directly after the interval
The home side had a huge claim for a penalty on the 70th minute mark when Cian Kavanagh looked to have been taken down in the box as he turned to shoot close to goal but the referee waved it away almost immediately and Wexford cleared the danger.
Shelbourne clearly felt quite aggrieved by the decision and pushed forward in the minutes that immediately followed the goal. The pressure paid off and Prendergast had the ball in the net and his second of the night as the game entered the closing stages. Another header, this time at the back post from another devastating set piece from Lorcan Fitzgerald.
Wexford emptied their bench in the closing minutes as they looked to their subs to make a late impact but the game was killed off with minutes to go and an unfortunate own goal by Owen McCormack.
Shelbourne striker David O’Sullivan broke free with the ball into the box on the right and squared a rocket of a ball across goal which McCormack steered into his own net to cap a 4-1 win for Owen Heary’s men and up into 3rd position for the moment.
A quick turnaround of games means that Shelbourne travel to Drogheda United on Monday afternoon. Wexford are on the road again next Saturday, 9th June when they take on Cobh Ramblers.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany, James Brown, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Derek Prendergast, Mark Hughes, Dave Mulcahy, Alan Byrne, Cian Kavanagh (Gavin Boyne 83), Adam Evans, Shane Farrell, Dave O’Sullivan
Booked: James Brown
Subs Not Used: Aidan Collins, Dylan Grimes, Reece McEnteer, Arran Molloy, Dayle Rooney, Lee Steacy
Wexford: Kealan Gaffney, Conor Sutton, Owen McCormack, Thomas Croke, Dean Kelly, Sean Kelly, Liam McCartan (John Morgan 46), Shane Barnes (Mikey Byrne 80), Dean George, Danny Doyle (Mark Slater 59), Aaron Dobbs
Booked: Danny Doyle, Thomas Croke, John Morgan
Subs Not Used: Colum Feeney, Ryan Nolan, Aaron O'Connor, Owen Wall
Referee: Adriano Reale
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Lorcan Fitzgerald