Dublin 0-15; Waterford 1-11
After watching Bernard Dunne produce a devastating finish in the O2 Arena the previous night, the Waterford hurlers were unable to find a late flourish against Dublin in the capital on Sunday evening.
Manager Davy Fitzgerald admitted afterwards that he perhaps got his team’s preparations wrong. However, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that he won’t be too disappointed with a defeat that will temper any tendency to get carried away after the previous win over Kilkenny.
The travelling party watched the Ireland-Wales game on television before attending the hi-octane WBA world bantamweight title fight world title fight in the O2Arena.
“I certainly wouldn’t make the same arrangements again,” the Clareman said after watching his old team-mate Anthony Daly’s men take the spoils on a bumpy Parnell Park pitch. “I think the rugby and boxing was a factor in the lads not being focused as well as they should have been.”
One man fully tuned in was goalkeeper Adrian Power, who gave a breathtaking display without which Dublin would have won had a few goals to spare.
In the first half the Ballyduff Upper clubman brought off a fantastic double-save from Liam Ryan and Alan McCrabbe (who also missed a penalty before the break) and two further superb stops in the second 35 minutes.
Gary Hurney had fired over Waterford’s opening score after the Dubs hit the front after 15 seconds, and when a Jamie Nagle delivery was caught and dispatched to the net by co-captain Stephen Molumphy on six minutes Waterford looked the likely winners, even at that early stage.
However, despite playing against a stiff breeze Dublin had trailed by only four points (0-6 to 1-7) at the interval and with Waterford struggling to create scoring chances bit by bit the home team reduced the deficit.
They eventually drew level on 57 minutes (0-11 to 1-8) and took the lead on the hour when sub Kevin Flynn supplied the finish and the scent of victory.
Waterford’s Eoin Kelly, who shot eight points in all, including some huge first-half, wind-assisted frees, quickly restored parity but two minutes into added time, McCrabbe, who bettered the Passage man’s tally by one, put the winners two points up before Kelly converted a placed ball that proved too little too late.
Galway visit this weekend
Anthony Daly was clearly delighted with his team’s display, which puts them level at the top of Division 1A with Kilkenny and Tipperary, who they play next Sunday in Thurles, with the homesters still smarting from their thrashing by the Cats at Nowlan Park. (Martin Comerford helped himself to 3-2 as Brian Cody’s men ran riot in amassing a 20-point half-time lead over the NHL holders and Munster champions.)
“It was a good win, and I was very pleased that the lads never dropped their concentration throughout the match,” the former Banner boss said.
His counterpart was left to rue the night before. “We watched the rugby game and went to the fight. Maybe it was wrong. I was looking for a bit of team bonding. It was wrong probably to be doing other stuff and enjoying it.
“But I’m human and I make mistakes,” he added. “I’ll take the blame for it” – though “some of the lads have to look at themselves,” he suggested. “They need to get their own heads right.
“But I can’t take away from Dublin’s performance. The hitting they did today and their work-rate was first class. I thought we were lucky to be within a point of them. That’s a fact.”
This Sunday coming Waterford take on Galway on Fraher Field at 2.30, with both counties’ prolonged participation in the league at stake (each having lost to Dublin coincidentally).
John McIntyre, who lacerated his side after their hammering by Kilkenny last time out, will have his Portumna players, including Joe Canning, back in harness, while Fitzgerald should also have the De La Salle contingent to call on, if he chooses to do so. Tony Browne is also chomping at the bit and is flying in training, according to reports from the camp.
The game will be shown deferred on TG4 after the live meeting of Cork and Limerick on Setanta Sports.
Dublin: G Maguire; R Treanor, T Brady, N Corcoran; S Hiney, R Fallon, P Kelly; J Boland, J McCaffrey; S Durkin, L Ryan, A McCrabbe; S Lambert, D O’Callaghan, L Rushe. Subs: M Carton for Kelly (h-t), M O’Brien for Treanor (h-t), K Flynn for Lambert (53), D Curtin for Ryan (64).
Scorers: A McCrabbe 0-9 (04f, 0-3 ’65’), S Durkin 0-2, J Boland, J McCaffrey, D O’Callaghan, K Flynn 0-1 each.
Waterford: Adrian Power; Jerome Maher, Aidan Kearney, Eoin Murphy; Richie Foley, Michael Walsh, James Murray; Shane O’Sullivan, Jamie Nagle; Gary Hurney, Ken McGrath, Seamus Prendergast (Shane Walsh 65 mins); Jack Kennedy (Dan Shanahan, 25 mins), Eoin Kelly, Stephen Molumphy.
Scorers: E Kelly 0-8 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65’), S Molumphy 1-0, G Hurney 0-2, K McGrath 0-1.
Referee: D Murphy (Wexford).