Waterford United 0; Cobh Ramblers 1
Waterford United opened up their new season on Saturday last at the RSC by playing hosts to a Cobh Ramblers side who will play in the Premier League this season following their triumph in the First Division last term.
The newly promoted side won the game, thanks to a goal scored by former Waterford United favourite Alan Carey from a free kick in the very last minute of the game, but on the overall run of play the home side looked the more impressive outfit during the course of the 90 minutes.
Playing against the strong breeze in the first half, the Blues displayed some nice touches and with the elements in their favour in the second half the new-look Waterford went close on a few occasions as they attacked the city-end goal.
New signings, Stephen Quigley, Kevin Waters and Luke Fitzpatrick began the game. Quigley looked solid at right full back as indeed did Fitzpatrick at centre half. Kevin Waters looked his old self playing out wide left. In the second half another new player, Robbie Clare looked the part at left full back.
Joe Mulcahy, a younger brother of Dave Mulcahy came on and put himself about in the middle of the park. Local players such as Kieran Fitzgerald, Stephen O’Shea, Vinny Sullivan, Willie John Kiely, David Grincell and Gary Dunphy also had their moments.
Sean Francis happy
Blues boss Gareth Cronin had to miss the game as his wife was taken to hospital on Saturday night so the team was managed by his assistant Sean Francis and he was pleased with what he saw during the course of the match.
“We played a 4-3-3 formation and we looked well balanced throughout. We have a good balance to the squad with a number of players quite capable of fitting in when required. I am not worried about the result as the goal came very late.
“The game was to see players play against a good Cobh team and all of them did well. We will continue to work hard during the coming weeks in training and during the remainder of friendly games. All in all this was a good workout and yes I am happy with what I saw”.
Waterford’s front three comprised Karl Bermingham, Willie John Kiely and Vinny Sullivan. Kieran Fitzgerald, Dave Warren and Kevin Waters occupied the midfield positions. Stephen Quigley, Stephen O’Shea, Luke Fitzpatrick and Kenny Browne (who wore the captain’s armband) formed the back four. Needless to say changes were made in the second half but the balance and shape of the team remained the same.
Cobh had a half chance inside the first 5 minutes when Alan Carey swung over a corner kick from the right to the head of Kenny Coleman but he directed his effort straight at the Blues goalkeeper Pakie Holden.
Waterford got into their stride after that effort with both Karl Bermingham and Vinny Sullivan going close. In the 16th minute, Kevin Waters passed to Willie John Kiely who in turn laid the ball into the path of Vinny Sullivan who made the Ramblers goalkeeper James McCarthy work with a low diving save.
Before the interval cup of tea, Stephen O’Shea sent Karl Bermingham on his way but after getting past defender Alan Carey he was unable to keep his shot on target.
Moments later at the other end Alan King picked out Martin Deady but his shot from the right side of the penalty area was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Pakie Holden.
In the second half Kieran Fitzgerald almost put Waterford in front with a well struck free kick from 30 yards. Dave Warren then went close with another free kick on 65 minutes from the left side of the park.
Both sides had a few half chances after that but in the very last minute Cobh scored the only goal of the match. The home side conceded a free kick just outside the penalty area.
Alan Carey came forward to take the free and the expert ‘dead ball’ merchant directed a shot past Pakie Holden in fine style.
Waterford United: Pakie Holden, Stephen Quigley, Stephen O’Shea, Kenny Browne, Luke Fitzpatrick, Kevin Waters, Dave Warren, Vinny Sullivan, Willie John Kiely, Karl Bermingham. Subs.: Robbie Clarke for O’Shea (H-T), Gary Dunphy for Fitzgerald (64 mins), Joe Mulcahy for Warren (67 mins), David Grincell for Kiely (71 mins), David Breen for Quigley (78 mins).
Cobh Ramblers: James McCarthy, Alan Carey, Shane Guthrie, Kevin Murray, John Meade, Gareth Cambridge, Alan Keane, Alan Kearney, Alan King, Kenny Coleman, Martin Deady.
Ref: Graham Kelly (Cork)