Limerick 0; Waterford United 2
Waterford United reeled off their fourth consecutive away victory at a wet and windy Jackman Park on Friday night last. A crowd of well over 1,000 turned out to support a home side who had won their previous three games and not conceded a goal in that time.
Waterford went into the game fresh from a six-nil drubbing of Monagahan United and a Munster Cup semi-final win over Clonmel Town 48 hours earlier.
Limerick manager Pat Scully and his Waterford counterpart Stephen Henderson both predicted a tight affair and they got it spot on. Chances were as rare as happily-sacked junior government ministers but nevertheless Waterford were by far the better team, a fact acknowledged by Scully afterwards. “They battered us in the second half,” he said.
These latest three points keeps Waterford hot on the heels of the leaders UCD. The students defeated Mervue United thanks to a very late goal in injury time. Had Waterford’s next opponents managed to hold on for a draw the Blues would have gone top.
Henderson made one change from the team which defeated Monaghan – Joe Mulcahy coming in on the right in place of Gary Dunphy. Waterford had a super chance to take the lead after only 90 seconds. Willie John Kiely went on a run down the right flank before crossing to the back post to Kevin Waters, who tried to touch the ball home with his left leg but it went narrowly wide.
Five minutes later Kiely just failed to get his head to a cross from Waters, with the Limerick goalkeeper Dave Ryan out of position. Michael Devine came to the rescue of the visitors on 13 minutes. Paul Walsh, the Waterford-born Limerick right winger placed the ball into the path of Wayne Colbert who fired in an angled shot from the right but Devine dived low and tipping the ball away.
The remainder of the first half was played out in the middle of the park. The home side deployed five in the middle and they appeared to have an extra man in that area of the park but they created absolutely nothing in the final third.
Waterford took the lead just after the hour mark. A slow build up in the centre circle saw the ball played out to Paul McCarthy who mishit his effort but the ball found its way to Willie John Kiely and the Abbeyside-born striker volleyed home from close range past Ryan.
The game was wrapped up on 70 minutes. Alan Carey sent over a cross from the right; Kevin Waters and the Limerick right full back, Brian O’Callaghan both went for it but the Limerick referee Mark Gough was in the perfect position to see that O’Callaghan had handled and pointed to the penalty spot immediately.
Graham Cummins took the spot kick and he sent Dave Ryan the wrong way with real class – seven goals in three games for the defender turned striker – and Waterford freewheeled to victory during the final 20-plus minutes.
Limerick: Dave Ryan, Jamie Wunch, Martin Deady, Paul Danaher, Pat Purcell, Tommy Barrett, Paul Walsh, Brendan Daly, Colin Scanlan, Wayne Colbert, Dave Ryan. Subs: Brian O’Callaghan for Wunch (11 mins), Paul Cummins for Dave Ryan (56) John Tierney for Daly (64)
Waterford United: Michael Devine, Kenny Browne, Seamus Long, Graham Cummins, Alan Carey, Kevin Waters, Joe Mulcahy, Willie John Kiely, Kevin Murray, Paul McCarthy, John Kearney. Subs: David Grincell for Mulcahy (77 mins), Declan Woodgate for Waters (87) Kieran Fitzgerald for Kearney (90)
Referee: Mark Gough (Limerick)