Going into last Friday’s fixture, Waterford United fans could instantly recall FAI Cup defeats against Longford in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 (the final) and 2006. Sadly, the half dozen was achieved at Flancare Park in a game decided via the penalty spot.
Blues keeper Chris Konopka was sent off after nine minutes having been adjudged of hauling down the onrushing Mark Salmon. Ex-United man John Lester stepped up and placed the ball beyond replacement goalkeeper Kenny Burns.
The penalty drama didn’t end there, with Aaron Shanahan saving Liam Kearney’s 74th minute spot kick, leaving Waterford to concentrate on their promotion campaign between now and season’s end.
Moments before Longford opened their account, full-back Niall O’Reilly sent a shot thundering off the Waterford crossbar.
But just seconds later, disaster struck from Chris Konopka’s perspective, as referee Paul Tuite sounded for a penalty kick, deciding that the American netminder had taken Salmon down, flashing a red card at the goalkeeper.
An inconsolable Konopka was adamant afterwards that he’d made contact with the ball, but one came Burns, with Willie John Kiely forced to make way. Burns got a hand to Lester’s spot kick but not sufficient enough to deny Longford the lead.
The sending off threw Waterford off and they found life exceedingly difficult for the remainder of the half, Burns denying Cathal Brady a certain goal in the 18th minute.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full match report.