Waterford Crystal 2; Villa 3
With a number of games falling foul of the bad weather, the teams of Waterford Crystal and Villa did get the chance to play on Saturday morning last. The rain fell and the wind blew but the youngsters of both sides still managed to serve up an exciting contest that produced five goals.
The Villa went into this game as favourites to overcome a home side that won through after an extra-time success against Gorey Rangers in round one and after a hard fought tie the visitors just edged out their opponents by an odd goal to book a third round spot against either St Joseph’s or St. Patrick’s Boys of Carlow. Credit referee Noel Ryan who added to the enjoyment by leaving the play flow throughout.
Villa took the lead after less than three minutes when Tadhg Whelan did superbly down the right channel to get the better of Thomas Lane, and after picking out the lethal and unmarked Niall McCabe, the striker planted a low right-footed strike past the helpless Declan Doyle.
Austin Gleeson went close to doubling his side’s advantage on nine minutes when he stepped over a free kick following a challenge on Villa midfielder Mark Walsh; however the resulting effort from the central defender clipped the top of the crossbar, much to the relief of the Crystal players.
However, the Villa did grab their second goal on 27 minutes when midfielder Tadhg Whelan waltzed into the penalty area before firing past the despairing dive of ‘keeper Doyle. But the home side never gave in and managed to pull a goal back on the stroke of half-time.
Corey Kavanagh whipped in a left-wing free kick to the front post for Nathan Phelan and after having his first effort blocked, the brilliant midfielder managed to bundle the ball over the line from close range; a perfect tonic going off at the break.
They could have been back on level terms within two minutes of the restart when Phelan was agonisingly close with a stunning right-footed strike from 35 yards before the same player was brilliantly denied by the legs of Villa keeper Andrew Kirwan on 40 minutes following a pass from Dean Power.
Just as the home side began to get a foothold in the game, they were reduced to 10 men and it got even worse from their point of view on 51 minutes when Villa scored what proved to be the winning goal as Niall McCabe slipped the ball into the path of Gavin Purcell and he drilled an unstoppable right-footed strike past keeper Declan Doyle.
It has to be said that the Crystal players showed some great character and battled their way back into the game with a goal of their own on 56 minutes when Michael McDonagh fired past keeper Kirwan from inside the area before the home side had penalty appeals turned down in injury time.
Dean Power went down under a challenge from Gavin Jacob but although the Crystal players felt that the foul happened inside the area, referee Noel Ryan gave a free kick on the edge of the area and Corey Kavanagh was just wide of the far post with the resulting free to end any hope of a remarkable comeback.
Waterford Crystal: Declan Doyle, Danny Ryan, Shane Elliott, Corey Kavanagh, Thomas Lane, Ciaran Walsh, Michael McDonagh, Nathan Phelan, Sam Quigley, Dylan Robinson, Dean Power and Dylan Ryan Davidson.
Villa: Andrew Kirwan, Gavin Jacob, Lee Crowley, Austin Gleeson, Craig Brown, Tadhg Whelan, Gavin Purcell, Mark Walsh, Niall McCabe, Josh Aimunhi, Glenn Sweeney, Ryan Philips, Tommy Power, Evan O’Donnell, Luke Power.
Referee: Noel Ryan (Park Rangers).