When Waterford United arrived in Ferrycarrig Park they were refused permission to warm up on the pitch where the game would be played and just like Limerick last season they were banished to the training area, despite the lighting being very poor and that, allied to the rain and wind, made life very difficult indeed.
Limerick refused to play there last term and they decided to return home. The Blues did not return home and after many heated debates an agreement was reached but the Wexford manager Mick Wallace was far from happy and allegedly he withdrew the usual offer of an after-match meal to the Waterford players and as a result the visiting squad had to return to Waterford for something to eat.
Both managers had plenty to say when the dust had settled but the Waterford boss Stephen Henderson was more interested in talking about the game itself. “The wind and rain made everything very difficult but we outplayed them completely all through. I cannot remember Mick Devine having to make a save all through the 90 minutes. They did catch us on the break one or twice but that was it.
“They are a fit team who are used to playing on the huge pitch but they never really gave us any trouble at all. Willie John Kiely was eager all night and he sniffed away all through. Paul McCarthy is not really fully match fit just yet but he is getting there. We played him in a more forward midfield position tonight and he showed his class especially in the first half.
“Gary Dunphy played with a dislocated shoulder and that just goes to show what spirit is in the squad at the moment. Kenny Browne is settling in to his position in front of the back four and he gives us a good shape. The back four had a number of long balls to deal with and they never looked in any sort of trouble.
“Michael Devine is a top-class goalkeeper. I often say that you can judge a goalkeeper by what he does not have to do, rather than what he has to do and during the game this evening he roared instructions to the defence. At his age, he does not want to have to do a lot during games and that was the case tonight. He is the ideal skipper, he really is.”
So, despite being extremely wet and hungry, Stephen Henderson was a happy man in the Model County last Friday night. When asked about next Friday’s home game against Shelbourne (the game has been brought forward 24 hours due to the Wales-Ireland rugby match) the Waterford manager expressed confidence.
“Shelbourne will be no better or no worse than Sporting Fingal. We more than held our own against Fingal and we will do the same against Shelbourne.”