Waterford United lost for their second successive First Division game last season as Shelbourne coasted to a 4-1 win at the RSC.
After last week’s defeat at Cobh Ramblers, the Blues needed a response but were well beaten by a Shels side who had James English shine with a hat-trick.
The Reds jumped up three places to third with the aid of slick start reflected by a two-goal interval lead. English grabbed both of them, his opener on 21 minutes from close range following a cross from Gavin Boyne.
The second arrived four minutes later when the home defence were cruelly exposed. Carl Walshe took full advantage by slipping in English for a neat finish.
Reeling from that blitz, Waterford’s reply was admirable as both Aaron O’Connor and Eoin Rhodes went close, but it was Shels with the next goal.
On the hour, Walshe and English were once again involved and the move was finished with aplomb by substitute Jamie Doyle with his first touch.
Although Waterford finally got the scoresheet three minutes later through a close-range finish by Rhodes, English buried his third and Shels’ fourth by darting clear 13 minutes from the end to score.
At the Belfield bowl, promotion hopefuls Drogheda United and UCD missed a chance to mount pressure on leaders Limerick when they drew 2-2.
All the goals were netted in the first half. Ryan Swan began the entertainment after just 12 minutes by slotting home after Dylan Watts releasing him through the middle.
Eoin Kirwan was on hand to equalise with a 23rd-minute finish after Niall Corbett failed to keep hold of Sean Brennan’s header, but Gary O’Neill restored the lead for UCD when his deflected free-kick found the back of the net 12 minutes later.
Two minutes before the break, Sam O’Connor made it 2-2 on the counterattack to complete the scoring.
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