Waterford United 3 – 1 Mervue United
report by Matt Keane.
The wind blew a gale at the RSC on Saturday afternoon and the sparkling Waterford United team blew away the challenge of a brave and gutsy Mervue United on a day which made it almost impossible for the teams to play ground football. Despite the horrendous weather the young Blues outfit did master the conditions and they fully deserved their victory. Mervue United arrived with only eleven players due to a large amount of withdrawals on the morning of the match and when they had their goalkeeper Conor Malley red carded just after the hour mark they had a mountain to climb and following the dismissal of the visiting custodian the result was never in any doubt. This win has got Tommy Griffin’s exciting team back on track following the defeat to Bohemians the previous week and their quest for the title is very much back on track.
Sean Maguire almost opened the scoring as early as the 3rd minute. He raced on to a long ball from the middle of the park and after getting past central defender Andrew Daniel he was unlucky to see his effort come back off the Mervue United woodwork. Seven minutes later David Cooley played the ball into the path of Nathan West but Conor Malley raced from his goal to take the ball off the foot of the Waterford striker. The visitors’ first attempt on goal came from a free kick after Waterford’s new centre half Lee Delaney fouled Billy Lane just outside the penalty area but Sean Barron produced a fine save from Conor Byrne.
Malley displayed his class in the Mervue goal when he somehow managed to claw away an angled drive from Jack Doherty on 25 minutes. Alan Rhodes took off on a brilliant run from the halfway line on 37 minutes before releasing Maguire but again Malley did the business by diving to his right to save from Maguire who let fly from the edge of the box. But it was only a matter of time before Griffin’s Babes scored and they did so in fine style five minutes before the interval. A three man move resulted in Maguire squaring the ball to West and the latter drilled the ball past the excellent Malley from 15 yards.
Conor Coad replaced the injured West for the start of the second half and the mercurial Coad was quickly in the thick of the action. He was only on the field five minutes when he played the most delightful ball out wide left to Jack Doherty who cut in from the flank and clipped the ball into the far corner of the net from just inside the 18 yard box. On the hour mark Conor Malley produced a stunning save from Sean Maguire but unfortunately from his point of view he was sent off one minute later when he was forced to take Maguire down inside the penalty area. Striker Billy Lane donned the goalkeeper’s jersey and gloves and he did remarkably well to tip away the spot kick taken by Doherty. Despite that superb save, Mervue had to battle on with just ten players and with no substitutes it was damage limitation from their view point.
Maguire rattled the Mervue crossbar on 65 minutes but the goal of the game arrived 6 minutes later. Maguire got to the endline on the right side of the park and when he pulled the ball back to Coad, the substitute unleashed a terrific volley high into the roof of the Mervue net from 18 yards. In fairness to Mervue they did continue to do the best they could and Brian Connelly took advantage of a mistake by Sean Barron 4 minutes from full time for a consolation goal. So normal service has been resumed by the exciting and fast moving Waterford United team.
(with thanks to Matt Keane for the report and Paul Elliot / Waterford Soccer Monthly for the photos!)
Blues: Sean Barron, Aidan McGrath, Jamie Cross, Thomas Whitty, Lee Delaney, David Cooley, Alan Rhodes, Jason Keane (Robbie Burke 72), Seanie Maguire, Nathan West (Conor Coad 45), Jack Doherty (Rían Clancy 72)
Goals: West 40, Doherty 50, Coad 71
Mervue: Conor Malley, Padraigh Kane, Ryan Ludden, Cieran Fahey, Andrew Daniel, Conor Byrne, Gary Patterson, Ian Batley, Billy Lane, Brian Connelly, Jamie Fallon
Goal: Connelly 86
Sent Off:Malley 62
Referee: Adam Tzampel