Shelbourne hero Gary Deegan. Picture: Martin Doherty
Shelbourne all but guaranteed their place in the 2021 Premier Division as they made it two wins on the bounce with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at home to Sligo Rovers on Sunday night.
Captain Gary Deegan’s goal midway through the first half proved the difference at Tolka Park as Shels moved above their opponents into sixth place.
The Reds had to dig in for the final 20 minutes after Luke Byrne was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Sligo striker Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe but they hung on for the three points.
Experienced midfielder Deegan rarely scores bad goals, just like his thumping consolation when Sligo ran out 2-1 winners at the Showgrounds in August.
Sunday’s effort was a simpler finish but came at the end of a flowing move that saw Dayle Rooney’s wonderful dummy create the space for another emphatic strike.
Liam Buckley’s Sligo came into the game on the back of a tough 4-0 defeat away to Shamrock Rovers but knew a win would move them into fourth and contention for a European spot.
Their second visit to Dublin in as many games proved no less troubling for the visitors, however, as they were second-best for the majority of the game.
Sligo received a lifeline with little under a quarter of the game remaining as centre-half Byrne misjudged a tackle that left Englishman Junior in a heap on the ground.
Manager Ian Morris was forced into emergency action as Dan Byrne was summoned from the bench in place of winger Denzil Fernandes and it worked as they saw out the game comfortably.
Shels now sit two points behind fourth-placed Waterford with two games apiece remaining, though St Patrick’s Athletic’s two additional games in hand leaves them firmly in the driving seat.