Jim O’Sullivan

Up in arms: Nine-goal Willie John Kiely (right) is congratulated by team-mates David Grincell and Gary Dunphy after his stunning first-half opener against Shamrock Rovers at the RSC on Tuesday evening. | Photo: Jim O’Sullivan

An emotional Waterford United manager Stephen Henderson saluted his players’ courage after Tuesday night’s terrific EA Sports Cup victory over Premier Division Shamrock Rovers at the RSC – but urged the support-shy Suirside soccer public to get behind his bravehearts.

Though “over the moon” with the win, the Dubliner took a long deep breath before making his feelings known after his promotion-chasing side booked their place in the last four. “We had players out there tonight who had no right to be there because many of them are injured, sore and tired. They have been playing two games a week now for some time and they are on their knees in that dressing-room.

“I find it hard to believe that we played Shamrock Rovers in a quarter-final of a cup and 600 people came to watch them. The people of Waterford city and county should be proud of them but they choose not to support them.

“I met a man before the game and he told me he has been supporting the club for over 50 years and he said this present group of players are right up there with all of the players who have played for the club when it comes to spirit and guts. I told the players what that gentleman said and it gave them all a lift.”


Capital-bound for the second time in a week to face third-placed Sporting Fingal tonight (7.45), “a Premier League team in everything but name”, Henderson says: “My players will lift themselves for that game also because they are a credit to this football club.


“We will carry out a health check before the game and see who is available. Whoever is fit will do all they can to get another positive result. We have won seven of our last eight league games and drawn one. Add in three cup victories and you have a special group of guys.”