Waterford League 0; Dublin AUL 0
Two strongly fancied teams played out an enjoyable draw in Graun Park, Tramore on Sunday evening last. This game was due to be played in Carrick three weeks ago but the Dublin outfit had difficulty with heir travel arrangements and the game had to be re-fixed. The game was rescheduled for Carrick once again but heavy rain meant that the tie was switched to the excellent home ground of Tramore AFC.
A draw was a fair outcome as both sides created very little in the way of goalscoring chances but nevertheless there was plenty of good football played during the course of the 90 minutes. Waterford will now have to travel to play Wicklow in their next group game while the Dublin AUL will have home advantage against the league from the Garden County, and that fact will make them favourites to top the group.
Waterford opened up smartly with Michael Coady crossing from the left after two minutes but Thomas Fitzgerald was unable to keep his header on target from inside the penalty area.
One minute later the Dubliners almost took the lead. Jonathan Rock took off on a strong run before having a shot blocked by the Waterford central defender Michael Caulfield. The ball broke lose to David Kane and he was unlucky to see his cracking shot come back off the Waterford crossbar.
Joey Phelan almost scored for Waterford on 11 minutes when he burst into the penalty area to meet a left wing cross from Michael Coady. The AUL goalkeeper David Conroy failed to deal with the cross but Phelan, under pressure from defender Keith Murray, poked the ball wide.
The game got somewhat bogged down in the middle of the park until the 42nd minute when Anthony Power of Waterford picked out Joey Phelan with a fine pass from the left and on this occasion Phelan was denied in the area by a tackle from Ross Carrig. In the last minute of the first half Francis Rockett played in Thomas Fitzgerald who controlled the ball before shooting over David Conroy’s crossbar from the edge of the 18-yard box.
The Dublin AUL were dreadfully unlucky not to open the scoring just after the hour mark. David Kane passed to Gerard McCarthy, who once played League of Ireland football with Waterford United when Gareth Cronin was manager. McCarthy crashed in an angled drive from the right but his shot came crashing back off the far upright with Waterford goalkeeper Adrian Walsh well beaten.
At the other end the Dublin goalkeeper David Conroy turned a cracking drive from Wayne Fitzgerald around his right upright. Fitzgerald, a current international player under Gerry Smith went close once again with a low effort from 25 yards.
The visitors sat back a little during the closing stages and they almost gave away a penalty one minute into stoppage time when Thomas Fitzgerald was tackled high by central defender Keith Murray but the referee waved play on. The last action of the game arrived on 93 minutes with Francis Rockett testing David Conroy with a long range effort but the AUL ’keeper held the ball brilliantly.
Waterford League: Adrian Walsh, Conor Mullane, Michael Coady, Michael Caulfield, Anthony O’Donnell, Francis Rockett, Joey Phelan, Wayne Fitzgerald, Thomas Fitzgerald, Paul Quilty, Anthony Power. Subs: Kevin Roche for Phelan (59 mins), Stephen Dalton for Quilty (86).
Dublin AUL: David Conroy, Conor Dillon, Anthony Kavanagh, Ross Carrig, Keith Murray, James Gilbert, Gerard McCarthy, Joseph Flood, David Kane, Jonathan Rock, Robert Kelly. Subs: Keith Kennedy for Rock (60 mins), William Molloy for Kelly (81).
Referee: Andrew Mullally (Waterford).