Andrew Dempsey reports from Tolka Park
Ten-man Cabinteely held firm to take a share of the spoils against high-flying Shelbourne in a largely uninspiring Dublin derby at Tolka Park.
Pat Devlin’s side defended resolutely throughout in what was a game of few chances as neither side deserved to grab the all important three points heading into the mid-season break.
Cabinteely playing much of the game with ten men thanks to Kevin Knight’s dismissal in the 26th minute.
In a cagey opening 20 minutes, both sides were unable to assert their authority on the game with stray passes and needless fouls dominating the game early on at the Richmond Road venue.
However, Cabinteely should have taken the lead as Kieran Marty Waters looked to have all the time in the world to bury his effort home but Shelbourne netminder Lee Steacy dealt with his effort smartly in the 12th minute.
In a rare instance of drama, the game exploded itself into life in the 26th minute as Cabinteely central defender Kevin Knight saw red after he appeared to have pushed over Shels attacking star James English on the halfway line in a needless confrontation between the pair.
The sending-off saw change in emphasis from Cabo who became ultra-defensive for the remaining hour or so as Shelbourne looked to increase the intensity with their numerical advantage.
David O’Sullivan, Cian Kavanagh and Dayle Rooney all went close for the hosts as they went in search of the opening goal that may have potentially opened up the game for the footballing purists.
In arguably the biggest chance of the half, Mark Hughes’ well-struck 30-yard strike just about whistled past Stephen McGuinness’ post as Cabo lived dangerously for a brief spell in the closing stages of the first half.
The second started in similar fashion as neither could get to grips with each other's style of play and frustration grew louder and louder throughout the ground with each passing mistake from Owen Heary’s side.
In the first real opening of the second half, the in-form O’Sullivan saw his headed effort just wide of McGuinness’ goal as James English’s delivery looked to have created the ideal opportunity.
The Reds went close soon after again as English saw his well struck effort deflect well over McGuinness’ bar, and the resulting corner came to nothing just before the hour mark.
After that, there was very little of note to report on as the game became overrun by long balls, needless tackles and time-wasting tactics throughout the remaining half hour of play.
As the frustrations of home fans grew, the influence of Christian Lotefa rose greatly as he looked a powerful force in the engine room of the Cabinteely midfield that were having to work off scraps for the majority of the second half.
Shelbourne, to their credit, huffed and puffed as they went in search of that elusive winning goal but McGuinness asserted himself superbly with some fantastic catches under pressure in the remaining few minutes.
Shels had the last chance of the game but they were unable to take full advantage of it as Devlin’s ten men held out for a potentially huge point at a ground where the Reds don't make it easy for anyone.
Shelbourne: Lee Steacy; James Brown, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Aidan Collins, Derek Prendergast; Mark Hughes, Cian Kavanagh (Shane Farrell, 76), Alan Byrne; Dayle Rooney, David O’Sullivan, James English.
Subs not used: Sean O’Connell (gk), Arran Molloy, Reece McEnteer, Dylan Grimes, Gavin Boyne, James O’Brien.
Booked: Mark Hughes (63), Lorcan Fitzgerald (70), James Brown (90+2).
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness; Jack Tuite, Sean Fitzpatrick, Kevin Knight, Keith Dalton, Anthony Dolan (Adam Maher, 36), Jack Watson (Eoghan Morgan, 74), Christian Lotefa, Marty Waters, Luke Clucas (Conor Keeley, 90+1), Dean Casey.
Subs not used: Sean Hyland (gk), Kieran Butler, Robert McGee, Andy O’Reilly.
Booked: Christian Lotefa (78).
Sent off: Kevin Knight (26).
Referee: Paula Brady.
Attendance: 464 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Stephen McGuinness (Cabinteely).