Waterford United 0, Ipswich Town 3
On a beautiful, sunny evening a crowd of over 4,000 saw Ipswich Town overcome Waterford United at the RSC on Friday night last.
The Ipswich line-up included former England goalkeeper Richard Wright, and Irishmen Shane O’Connor, Alan Quinn and Owen Garvan with Shane Supple on the bench. Irish senior international Alex Bruce lined out at full-back.
Over an hour before kick-off there were long queues outside the RSC for the game that sold out almost as soon as it was announced and the Ipswich bus containing the team and manager Roy Keane was cheered loudly as it entered through the gates.
The English Championship side arrived at Faithlegg House just outside the city earlier in the day and was given use of the excellent facilities of nearby junior side Park Rangers.
All eyes were on the charismatic figure of Keane as he put his charges through their warm-up paces on the pitch before the game. The former Irish captain was relaxed and smiling and signed autographs as well as facilitating a thousand camera-phone photographs.
Ipswich opened the scoring somewhat against the run of play on 37 minutes when United were slow to clear and former Jamaican international Kevin Lisbie, pounced to drive a fierce shot into the corner of the net from 25 yards.
The second half was less than two minutes old when substitute Tommy Smith crossed from the left, Michael Devine failed to hold and Owen Garvan steered the ball into the net from six yards.
Garvan found the net again on 63 minutes when he capitalised on a mistake by Paul McCarthy and raced past two defenders to drill the ball low and hard into the net.
From the kick-off, Waterford were calm and poised and sprayed the ball about the park with a series of pin-point crosses.
The Blues almost took the lead after only five minutes when a Kevin Waters’ cross from the left found Paul Walsh unmarked at the far post but his header shaved the top of the crossbar.
On 22 minutes, Waterford had a let-off when Lisbie sent a low, tantalising ball across the United goalmouth but there was no Ipswich player on hand to give it the simple touch it needed to find the net.
Just on the half-hour, a cross from John Kearney put the visitors’ goalkeeper Richard Wright under pressure from Dave Warren and the ball was knocked out for a corner.
Minutes later, David Norris unleashed a snap-shot at the other end that needed a top-drawer save from Devine to keep it out.
A free by Kevin Waters evaded the Ipswich defence on 36 minutes and Kevin Murray’s flicked on header went inches wide of the far upright.
In the 52nd minute, Graham Cummins collected a through ball from Paul McCarthy and, despite the close attention of two defenders, managed to get off a shot that was turned out by Wright at the post who dived full-length.
Ipswich, who lost in Turner’s Cross last Sunday, kick off their league campaign against Coventry on August 8th.
Waterford United: Michael Devine (Kevin Burns, 63 minutes), Alan Carey, Kevin Murray, Kenny Browne, John Kearney, Paul Walsh, Stephen Grant, Kieran Fitzgerald, Kevin Waters, Dave Warren, David Grincell.
Substitutes: Seamus Long for Alan Carey, Joe Mulcahy for Stephen Grant, Paul McCarthy for Murray, Graham Cummins for Waters, Willie John Kiely for Grincell (all HT); Kevin Burns for Devine, Gary Dunphy for Walsh (both 63 mins) and Paul Carey for Dave Warren (75 mins).
Ipswich Town: Richard Wright, Alex Bruce, Shane O’Connor, Gareth McAuley, Pim Balkenstein, Veliche Schumuilikoski, Alan Quinn, Owen Garvan, Jordan Rhodes, Kevin Lisbie, David Norris.
Substitutes: Tommy Smith for O’Connor, Liam Trotter for Norris (both HT); Connor Wickham for Rhodes, Jon Stead for Lisbie (both 63 mins)
Referee: Keith Callanan (Cork).