“]Tussle for possession between Waterford United’s Luke Fitzgerald and Cobh Ramblers’ Graham Cummins.    Photo: Jim O’Sullivan <strong><font color=\[View more photos]
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Waterford lost their grip on the Munster Senior Cup following a penalty shoot-out defeat against newly promoted Cobh Ramblers at the RSC on Saturday afternoon last.

This result means that the local side have yet to win a game during the close season and manager Gareth Cronin will be hoping his side can get a win under their belts sooner rather than later before they open up their league campaign away in Wexford on March 7th.

The first half of this game produced plenty in the way of talking points but the second period and extra time produced very little of note. The penalty shoot-out required 20 spot kicks to decide the winners and it was the new Premier League outfit who came out on top.

Dodgy decisions

Waterford took the lead after only 4 minutes of play when Willie John Kiely side-footed home a super cross from the left by Kevin Waters.

The visitors from Co Cork equalised from a penalty which should not have been awarded on 16 minutes. Referee Mark Gough from Limerick adjudged that Waterford’s new goalkeeper Danny O’Leary had fouled Cieran O’Reilly and he immediately pointed to the spot. O’Reilly took the kick himself and he gave O’Leary no chance whatsoever.

Willie John Kiely almost scored again on 22 minutes but in truth he knew very little of what he was doing. The Cobh goalkeeper Stephen Deasy made a mess of an attempted clearance and when the ball hit the back of Kiely it went narrowly wide.

The Blues were pushing forward in good style at this stage and they went close once again after 31 minutes. Kevin Waters sent over a free-kick from the right. Stephen Deasy dropped the ball and when it fell to Luke Fitzpatricck he shot at goal but the goalkeeper made up for his mistake by tipping the ball around the post. Waterford regained their lead on 40 minutes.

Again Kevin Waters was in the thick of the action, this time sending over a well directed corner-kick from the right and David Breen was in the right place to crack the ball to the net from close range.

Two minutes later Mark Gough awarded another penalty to Ramblers when he claimed that Stephen Quiglay had fouled Cieran O’Reilly. It looked like a very poor decision but O’Reilly was not complaining and he duly slotted home his second goal of the game.

Rare chances

As already stated the second half did not match the effort of the first. Colin Meade who had replaced two goal man O’Reilly at half-time ran on to a ball from Sean Barrett early on but Danny O’Leary rushed from his goal to clear the danger.

Kevin Waters, Robbie Clarke and Karl Bermingham combined nicely on 79 minutes but defender Alan Kearney was in the right place to clear the danger on the edge of the penalty area.

It came as no surprise when the full time whistle and then the extra-time full-time whistle had not produced any more goals and it was into the penalty kicks decider. Vinny Sullivan missed for Waterford before Colin Meade of Cobh then had his effort saved by Danny O’Leary. Robbie Clare then scored for Waterford as did John Kearney for the visitors.

David Breen netted for the Blues but Kenny Coleman then had his spot kick saved by O’Leary. Luke Fitzpatrick struck the Ramblers crossbar with Waterford’s 4th penalty and Kevin Murray then made it 2-2.

A run of successful penalties then followed from kicks 5 to 9 with Gary Dunphy, David Grincell, Dave Warren, Kevin Waters and John Hayes on the mark for the Blues.

Graham Cummins, Alan King, Alan Carey, Micheal Mulrooney and Shane Guthrie were the marksmen for Ramblers. When Stephen Quigley missed with Waterford 10th penalty it was down to Davin O’Neill to win the game for Cobh, something he did in style.
Waterford United: Danny O’Leary, Stephen Quigley, Robbie Clarke, David Breen, John Hayes, Luke Fitzpatrick, Dave Warren, Paul McCarthy, Willie John Kiely, Karl Bermingham, Kevin Waters. Subs.: Vinny Sullivan for Kiely (71 mins), Gary Dunphy for McCarthy (86 mins), David Grincell for Bermingham (100 mins).Cobh Ramblers: Stephen Deasy, Alan Carey, John Kearney, Kevin Murray, Shane Guthrie, Sean Barrett, Alan Kearney, Graham Cummins, Cieran O’Reilly, David O’Neill, Michael Mulrooney. Subs.: Kenny Coleman for Alan Kearney (15 mins), Conor Meade for O’Reilly
(H-T), Alan King For Barrett (81 mins).Referee: Mark Gough (Limerick).