Waterford book All-Ireland place in nail-biting fashion

Under 15 All-Ireland semi-final

Waterford League 3 Galway League 2

Waterford will head to Mullingar on Sunday week to play the Dublin League in the Under 15 All-Ireland final following this nail biting semi-final played at the RSC on Sunday afternoon last. At the interval Nigel Ray’s side were leading three nil and at that stage plans were being made for the trip to the final but Galway fought back in the second half and the local side just about held on to keep on track for the ultimate glory. Waterford got off to a flying start by scoring after only three minutes.
Jamie Hutchinson sent over a corner-kick to Tony Ebhonwaye who touched the ball to the net at the back post.
Keane Griffin had a chance to get Galway back on level terms after nine minutes but he dragged his effort across the face of the goal.

Waterford’s Tony Ebhonwaye celebrates scoring the opening goal for his side.

Waterford’s Tony Ebhonwaye celebrates scoring the opening goal for his side.

The home side should have increased their lead when Sam Pender rose high to meet a cross from Jamie Hutchinson but he headed over the bar from a good position.Two minutes later the visitors from the west squandered an opportunity when Keane Griffin headed over the bar after he made contact with a cross from Gerard O’Riordan.Waterford goalkeeper Scott Searson did well to hold a shot from Tom Delaney on 24 minutes. Waterford doubled their advantage on the half hour mark when skipper Eugene Tippa headed home from close range following a Jamie Hutchinson corner-kick.

Things got even better for the young Blues one minute later. The brilliant Jamie Hutchinson sprayed the ball out wide right to Mark Imiren and the Ferrybank player drilled the ball to the net from the right side of the penalty area.
The visitors got back into the game six minutes into the second half when Mikey McCullagh scored from the penalty spot and at that stage it was a case of game on. Waterford received another scare on 61 minutes when Ify Asueo headed over the bar after he had met a flag-kick taken by Josh O’Connor. However Galway did reduce the margin to just one goal when Ronan Bambara unleashed a sublime free-kick to the net from just outside the penalty area on 64 minutes. The home side had to deal with a lot of more pressure during the remainder of the contest but hold on they did and now they are just 70 minutes away from an All-Ireland title.

Manager Nigel Ray admitted Galway had very good chances in the second half but was thrilled with the way his side responded. “Galway are a very good side and they really had some excellent chances but our lads worked really hard, everyone of them and we couldn’t have asked for any more from them. We now have an All-Ireland final to look forward to and we know Dublin are going to be a very good side but we’ll get back together on Wednesday night and begin to prepare and it should be a great occasion for everyone involved in schoolboy football in Waterford.”

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