Waterford United 2 – 0 Mervue United
Waterford United continued their winning run to the end of the season with a 2-0 win in an entertaining meeting with Mervue United. Two goals of real quality late in each half proved the difference between the sides as the Blues made it three wins on the spin.
A quiet enough start to proceedings saw the home side with the greater share of the play, albeit without generating many real chances, although Seamus Long did head over the top from Paul Walsh’s right wing cross when well placed on five minutes. Shortly afterwards the visitors had a big shout when a superb cross-field ball from fullback David O’Brien picked out Pat Hoban, charging in on goal only for a last ditch tackle from Kenny Browne to dispossess him, unfairly in his view. Walsh’s crossing was very much a feature of the half, and on the quarter hour another found Paul Phelan at the back post, but his volley was blocked away. In turn Phelan almost turned provider for Gary Keane, picking out his run with a pin-point cross, but again the glancing header was just off target, and on 35 minutes the Blues went closest yet, the former Ross Celtic man’s deep cross from the left returned low with interest by the impressive Walsh, only for Michael Coady to turn the ball over the crossbar from four yards.
In fairness to the left back the cross was fairly fizzed at him, but it was a chance missed. However, right on the stroke of half-time Waterford broke the deadlock, with a superbly crafted goal of elegant simplicity. Long picked up the ball in midfield and played it in low to Sean Maguire, who twisted and turned to evade several tackles before sliding the return into the path of Long who had continued his run into the box. A steadying touch and a cool low finish and it was 1-0 to the home side.
The visitors were first out of the blocks on the restart, with Pat Hoban breaking into the area from the left, forcing Kevin Burns to come out early and low to make the save. Four minutes later a smart move saw Sean Maguire spray it wide left, Paul Walsh effect the step-over, and Paul Phelan move in on goal from the left, but his close range effort brought an equally smart low save from Ger Hanley.
With chances being traded at both ends, Etanda Nkololo was next to try his luck, turning Paul Carey and firing goalwards only for Burns to block and Kenny Browne hack clear. And inside a minute another superb Maguire pass sent a marauding Michael Coady racing goalwards, only to pull his shot across the face of goal. Maguire and David Breen both went close from distance, before a mesmerising mazy run from half-way from the young forward brought applause but no reward as his short pass found Walsh marginally offside. The best was very much kept for last though, as sub Dwayne Wilson, only on the pitch three minutes, staked his claim for the best goal scored at the RSC. Paul Phelan’s deep cross from the left was watched all the way by the winger, and imperiously volleyed back inside the far corner from the narrowest of angles. A superb way to cap a rollercoaster season for the Blues!
Blues: Kevin Burns; Paul Carey, David Breen, Kenny Browne, Michael Coady; Paul Walsh (Dwayne Wilson 82), Seamus Long, Gary Dunphy (Jason Keane 82), Paul Phelan; Gary Keane, Sean Maguire (Aidan McGrath 88) - subs: Sean Barron, Adam Potter, Jack Doherty, Craig Keane
Goals: Long 45
Booked: G Keane
Mervue: Ger Hanley; Daivd O’Brien, James Casserley (Mike Elwood 85), Martin Conneely, Kenny Farrell; Jason Molloy, Noel Varley, Barry McEntee, Etanda Nkololo; David Goldbey (Alex Lee 66), Pat Hoban (Mark Ludden 76) - subs: Cillian Murphy, Kevin Crehan
Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford)