League Preview: Shelbourne -v- Waterford

Shelbourne in a huddle ahead of kick-off against Shamrock Rovers in Tolka Park on Monday 22 April 2024

Shelbourne in a huddle ahead of kick-off against Shamrock Rovers in Tolka Park on Monday 22 April 2024 Credit: Brian F Smyth (ETPhotos)


Shelbourne will be looking to improve upon their ‘one win in nine matches’ recent record and retain top spot in the league table when they play host to Waterford at Tolka Park on Friday night. (KO 7.45pm)

Their sole win in that nine -game run was at home to St Patricks Athletic but they have still managed to retain the leadership of the league through six draws during that nine-game sequence.

The most recent draw was at home to Drogheda Utd last weekend where they went behind to a 3rd minute goal by the visitors only to later equalise in the 60th minute through a Sean Boyd header and ensure a share of the points.

Their defensive record is still excellent but their goals scored record of 17 goals is noticeably inferior to the other three teams currently occupying the top four slots in the table.

They had 76 % of the possession in that game against Drogheda, but failed to convert a number of other decent chances that would have given them all three points.

Manager Damien Duff spoke with the Shelbourne media team this week and emphasised the challenge likely to be posed by last season’s First Division runners up.

He said ‘’Waterford are in an awful better shape than when we came up in 2022, full credit to them they have proper quality top-end of the pitch and some real X-factor in attack, people that are game-changers, and we have to be aware of them and how dangerous they will be.

“Really good results and performances from Waterford, and the bit that jumps out is like I said at the top end, so dangerous, nearly all the teams in the country have had a very tough time with them. Looking at them closely over the last two weeks, the tight games, they’re coming out on the right side and that’s down to their work, hunger, desire and the quality they have, it’s nothing to do with luck.”

It was a monumental week for the Shelbourne off the pitch as DCC councillors voted to grant Shelbourne FC a 250-year lease for Tolka Park. Duff shared his delight in the news: 

“Over the moon for the club; we were in training when we heard it. Always hoped it would happen; that common sense would prevail. This pace is so special, Tolka Park, like Shelbourne, is a Dublin institution. It’s where Shels belong, so much history there; it’s part of our identity. And we plan on adding to that, making our own history here”.


Waterford are flying high at the moment with a three-game winning streak propelling them up into fourth position in the league table and only six points behind the leaders and their opponents on Friday night.

The stand out performance in that three-game sequence was undoubtedly the 3-1 away win against five in a row aspirants Shamrock Rovers on Easter Monday.

They thoroughly deserved than win and proved it was no fluke by following up with another high scoring performance, a 4-1 home win over Dundalk.

A pleasing aspect for manager Keith Long will be the spread of scorers in those two games with Maleace Asamoah (3), Conor Parsons, Chrissie Pattison and Dean McMenamy all finding the net (the 7th goal was an O.G. by Leon Pohls in the Rovers match).

Long spoke to the Waterford media team in advance of the game and said “We want to go to Tolka Park and play well – we will need to against the league leaders. We are looking to improve performances every week in a collective effort to get better as a group.

The boys have shown they are capable so it’s about building that consistency piece – week in week out.”

He also updated on their injured players and said ‘’Barry Baggley & Connor Evans will miss out on our trip on Friday. Ryan Burke returned to training this week, and is in contention for tomorrow night. Kacper Skwierczyński has also returned to training and will be part of the matchday squad, along with Adam Queally’’

Referee: Robert Harvey



These two sides have only met twice in the last two seasons so there is no real form guide from recent history coming into this weekend’s clash.

For the record, Shels did win 1-0 down at the RSC in Waterford back in October 2022 in the FAI Cup semi-final, a 16th minute Gavin Molloy goal separating the sides.

The two sides also met on the opening night of the league season back in February and that game finished in a 1-1 draw.

Fleetwood Town loanee Maleace Asamoah put the Blues ahead in the 3rd minute but Sean Boyd equalised for the Reds in the 78th minute before being promptly red carded shortly afterwards.

Waterford boast the best away record in the league so far this season with 14 points picked up from their 8 games away from home.


Shelbourne 1-2 Waterford



Injured: Shane Griffin

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None



Injured: Conor Evans, Brian Baggley

Doubtful:  None

Suspended: None