Shelbourne season preview: Mid-table ambitions for Mathews' side

Alan Mathews' Shelbourne face a difficult season ahead with a large changeover in personnel making it difficult to predict how this new-look Shels team will perform

Philly Hughes
Glenn Cronin
Paul Crowley
By Kealan McGuinness

Shelbourne will do well to repeat last season's eighth-place finish this year with key transfers away from the club weakening the squad.

It is difficult to judge how the side will gel with so much movement in the transfer market. David Cassidy, Philly Gorman, Keith Dawson, Conan Byrne and Paddy Kavanagh are among a long list of departures since last season in a considerable reshuffle.

Veteran Paul Crowley, former Leeds United man Robert Bayly and the ex-Bray youngster Adam Hanlon have been brought in to strengthen midfield. Goalkeeper Ger Hanley, defender Pat Flynn and striker Dean Kelly, who began his career at Tolka Park, have also joined.

Shels' poor discipline proved costly last year so this is an area talented manager Alan Mathews must address. Already, red cards have been too familiar in Shels' pre-season matches with Pat Flynn being sent off twice and Robert Bayly also finding himself dismissed. Unless their discipline improves, Shels will find it difficult to achieve a mid-table finish.

On the other hand, last season's top scorer Philly Hughes has started pre-season in form with three goals and Dean Kelly's return will provide much-needed attacking support. Shels will be hoping their new sponsorship deal with Volkswagen will improve the club's fortunes this season and put them in the driving seat for a top half finish, but they may struggle to keep up.