It was great to see Shelbourne win the Leinster Senior Cup this week. To go to Oriel Park and beat Dundalk in any competition is a tall order; to deny them the silverware after a gruelling 120-minute contest on a cold night makes the achievement all the more heroic.
I was only saying last time out that the ‘stay of execution’ for Tolka Park gives Shels extra time to get back to where they belong – in the top flight and winning trophies. Owen Heary’s men lifting the Leinster Senior Cup is a good start on this quest, the endgame of which is to be a side competing with Bohs, Pats and Rovers again by the time they eventually leave Tolka .
Shels have now moved into a clear second in the Leinster Senior Cup leader board. This week’s win was their 20th, so they move one clear of Shamrock Rovers. Bohemians [last year’s winners] are still way out in front on 32. This pleased me because it was the second time this week I have seen something about a club I like moving into second place – Rochdale’s goalkeeper Josh Lillis kept his 58th league clean sheet away at AFC Wimbledon last week to move clear into second behind Neil Edwards’ Dale record. But I digress!
The Leinster Senior Cup is the oldest competition in Ireland. I always enjoyed it as an aside to league action over the years, but Bray could never seem to win it. I was very disappointed when it was dropped in 2000 and delighted when it was revived in 2010, although 2010’s final saw Bray finally get to the decider, and with home advantage, only to lose to Shels – their previous win to this week.
Looking back through the history of the Leinster Senior Cup, Shels and Bohs dominated its early years. In an unbroken run of 24 seasons from 1893-94 to 1916-17, nobody other than Bohs or Shels won the Leinster Senior Cup!
Tolka Park will be a good place to be on Saturday for Shels’ last First Division game of the season. The Leinster Senior Cup will be in the ground, as well as the Women’s National League Cup and the 3 cups that their academy won recently. That’s more silverware than you could shake a stick at! I’ll be out in Bray for the Galway match on Saturday but that’s an afternoon kick-off while Shels play in the evening. I can see a plan forming!