Waterford United 3; Limerick 37 1
David Grincell was the name on everyone’s lips at the RSC as Waterford United maintained their promotion push thanks to a thoroughly deserved win over Limerick 37 last Friday.
Two glorious strikes from the young United striker in either half earned him a standing ovation from the home fans after a 77th minute injury curtailed an electrifying performance.
Grincell, who has scored five goals in four games, has generated a buzz among the United support that hasn’t been noticeable at Blues fixtures for quite a few years.
Be it his delightful first touch, ceaseless work rate and stunning finishing power, there’s little that the Kilkenny native has done wrong of late – and long may it continue.
But the night didn’t get off to an ideal start from the home side’s perspective.
They were still taking their seats at Kilbarry when Limerick 37 took the lead through Waterford-born Paul Walsh, who, under little pressure from full-back Stephen Quigley, directed a powerful header beyond Packie Holden.
Four minutes later, Limerick could have doubled their lead after Gary Sheehan latched onto a Tommy Barrett through ball, with Blues skipper David Breen caught for pace.
Under pressure from the rapidly advancing Kenny Browne, Sheehan could do no better than shoot tamely into Holden’s midriff.
After a decidedly shaky few minutes, United levelled matters with their first genuine attack of purpose.
Kevin Waters, in for Robbie Clarke at left-back, swung a pinpoint ball across the box to Karl Bermingham, who nodded in from three yards.
The goal steadied home nerves and thereafter United enjoyed the better of proceedings.
And seven minutes from the break, they took the lead in sensational fashion thanks to Grincell – and what a goal it was.
Grincell, whose every touch had been earning excited noises from the home support, surged onto a John Hayes pass, darting past Limerick keeper Dave Ryan, but his touch took him away from goal.
Steadying himself, the lightning fast Grincell cut back inside, danced past the advancing Pat Purcell and turned the ball gloriously home with his left foot from an acute angle. Many of the 435 witnesses present stood to applaud the strike – and how right they were.
Despite having the better of matters territorially in the opening minutes of the second half, a weak David Breen backpass on the hour mark gave Gary Sheehan a run at Packie Holden, but the United keeper didn’t panic and he toe-poked the ball to safety.
On 72 minutes, Grincell struck again and, at the risk of repeating myself, what a strike it was.
Surging onto a loose ball and thundering off a few would-be challengers, the United striker unleashed a stunning shot high to David Ryan’s left hand side and into the top corner of the net. And again the home fans stood.
In the 84th minute, Limerick must have known it wasn’t going to be their night after Paul Danaher’s effort cannonned off the crossbar.
What followed next was a Carry-On like sequence of events in which, somehow, Mike Kerley’s side failed to register a second goal.
Danaher’s follow-up was met by Paul Walsh, whose shot was steered off the line by Kieran Fitzgerald. But the fun didn’t end there.
The ball then fell to Limerick’s Tommy Barrett, who also saw his shot swept off the line by John Hayes, before Wayne Colbert somehow shot wide from six yards.
Just two points behind Dundalk ahead of their trip to Oriel Park on August 21st, the garden is getting decidedly rosier for Waterford United. And if David Grincell stays in this sort of form, that’d be blooming marvellous (cut out the flowery stuff – Ed).
Waterford United: Packie Holden, Stephen Quigley (Kieran Fitzgerald, 57 mins), Kevin Waters, David Breen, Kenny Browne, Dave Warren, John Hayes, Luke Fitzpatrick, Karl Bermingham, David Grincell (Willie John Kiely, 77 mins), Michael Foley (Robbie Clarke, 64 mins). Subs not used: Joe Mulcahy and Ben Spicer.
Limerick 37: Dave Ryan, Brendan Daly (Stephen Goggin, 45 mins), Brian Cleary, Jamie Wuncsh (Paul Danaher 15 mins), Pat Purcell, Wayne Colbert, Tommy Barrett, Paul Walsh, Colin Scanlon (James Hayes, 60 mins), Gary Sheehan, John Tierney. Subs not used: Peter White and Kevin Fitzpatrick.
Ref: John McLoughlin (Athlone)