Shelbourne 2; Waterford United 0
The Waterford United manager Gareth Cronin pulled no punches following the full-time whistle in Tolka Park on Friday night last. He admitted to being “ashamed” by the performance of his team and in many ways he had every right to be angry at what was quite simply a shocking display.
The opening 45 minutes produced a terrible effort by the Blues. They had no idea how to go about breaking down a Shelbourne defence who are not the fastest in the world. The visiting players could not get the ball wide and get around the home defenders. They insisted on knocking the ball forward straight down the middle of the park, playing into the hands of the players in the red shirts.
Waterford United did improve somewhat in the second half and they dominated between the 50th and 60th minutes but during that period they squandered the chances that came their way.
The Blues have now lost to the division’s ‘big two’, Dundalk and Shelbourne, and they will have to beat both those clubs when they play them at home in the second series of games.
Next up is a home game against Monaghan United, a game they must win to get confidence back into the squad. The only change from the team that defeated Kildare County was Joe Mulcahy. He came in for Karl Bermingham to make his debut from the start. He had impressed against Dundalk and Kildare when brought on as an impact substitute.
Willie John Kiely tested the Shelbourne goalkeeper Dean Delaney in the opening minute but 4 minutes later the home club should have taken the lead. Damien Brennan was allowed run from well inside his own half and when he passed to Anto Flood, the league’s leading scorer had the goal at his mercy but from inside the penalty area on the right side he dragged his shot wide.
Shels did take the lead however after 9 minutes and it was a dreadful goal to concede from a Waterford point of view. James Chambers, one of five former Waterford players who lined out for the Dublin side (Dean Delaney, Robbie Hedderman, Alan Keely and Alan Mulcahy being the others) played a long ball forward from his right full-back position. There appeared to be no danger as Pakie Holden shouted for the ball; central defender Kenny Browne allowed it to go over his head and Anto Flood could not believe his luck as he put the ball into an empty net.
Two minutes later James Keddy cracked the ball off the Waterford crossbar with Holden well beaten. The Blues goalkeeper produced a fine save on 13 minutes, tipping a free-kick from Alan Mulcahy over the crossbar.
On the odd occasion that Waterford attacked they were off target. Michael Foley got in a cross from the right on 41 minutes but Joe Mulcahy shot high over the bar. Shortly afterwards Robbie Clarke picked out Vinny Sullivan who shot first time from 16 yards range but Dean Delaney was able to turn his effort over the crossbar.
Kenny Browne crumbled in a heap on the ground just before half-time and during the interval it emerged that he was suffering from food poisoning and he was replaced by Luke Fitzpatrick.
Waterford looked somewhat sharper when the second half got underway and they tried to get the ball out wide to the flanks. Vinny Sullivan missed a good chance after 50 minutes when he raced into the penalty area to meet a cross from full-back Robbie Clarke but he headed wildly over the crossbar.
Joe Mulcahy got to the right end-line 6 minutes later and crossed to Karl Bermingham who was just about to pull the trigger only for the Shelbourne defender Damien Brennan to get in a clearing tackle.
United’s best chance of the game fell to Vinny Sullivan on 58 minutes when he found himself in a one-on-one situation with Dean Delaney. He should have scored but the goalkeeper came out to narrow the angle and produced a save as Sullivan shot straight at him from 12 yards.
Michael Foley got in a cross from the right on 60 minutes. His delivery was met at the far post by Karl Bermingham who in turn knocked the ball back to Luke Fitzpatrick but he hooked the ball over the crossbar from close range.
That was as good as it got for the visitors. Shelbourne got going again and they went close on 85 minutes when David Freeman released James Keddy but he was off-target. Their second goal did come as Waterford were pressing forward. The ball was played long out of defence and substitute Philip Hughes raced down the right flank, got past Robbie Clarke before crossing to Anto Flood who gleefully crashed home his 2nd goal of the game unmarked.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, James Chambers, Robbie Hedderman, Alan Keely, Damien Brennan, Mark O’Brien, Dave McGill, Alan Mulcahy, Anto Flood, David Freeman, James Keddy. Sub: Philip Hughes for Mulcahy (61 mins).
Waterford United: Pakie Holden, Stephen Quigley, Robbie Clarke, David Breen, Kenny Browne, Dave Warren, Paul McCarthy, Joe Mulcahy, Vinny Sullivan, Willie John Kiely, Micheal Foley. Subs: Luke Fitzpatrick for Browne (45 mins), Karl Bermingham for Kiely (51 mins), Kevin Waters for Foley (68 mins).
Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).