Waterford League 2; Wicklow League 1
Waterford’s Under 15s made it a day to remember when they completed a hat-trick of victories with victory over a dogged Wicklow side, the Leinster champions, at the RSC.
The homesters were on top during the opening 20 minutes but they did not really make the Wicklow goalkeeper Rory O’Neill work. On 25 minutes Ryan Foley was put clear by James Starmer but he elected to shoot himself with Jack Gaule and Paul White both screaming for the ball inside the penalty area.
James Starmer floated over a free-kick on 35 minutes which was met by Paul White but his header was well held by Rory O’Neill.
Waterford broke the deadlock 5 minutes into the second half. James Starmer, a fine dead ball merchant, took a free-kick from the right and Adam Hyslop headed home. The free was awarded on 50 minutes after Paul White was fouled by Paul Rice.
Waterford missed plenty of chances to wrap up the game after that goal. Rory O’Neill saved a Paul White free kick and another taken by Eoin Walsh.
More chances fell to Paul White and Luke Kearney before Wicklow equalised through Adam Hanlon who was fed by Kevin Dempsey before slotting the ball past Josh Byrne with his left foot.
Waterford’s winning goal came from the penalty spot and it was their goalkeeper Josh Byrne who took it. A shot by Eoin Walsh was handled by defender Keith Armstrong and Byrne came forward to give his counterpart Rory O’Neill no chance whatsoever with just four minutes remaining.
What a day it proved to be for Waterford underage football. Three teams through to All-Ireland finals. The Under 15 manager, John Furlong summed it up. “Days like this don’t come around to often and it is great to be part of it all. We had to work hard for our win but I never lost faith in the boys. All of them did what they had to do and now we can look forward to the All Ireland final with confidence”.
Roll on late May. We are all off to Dublin! The Under 15 side will play either Donegal or North Dublin in their final.
Waterford League (panel): Josh Byrne, Shane Hayes, Adam Baxter, Adam Heyslop, Luke Kearney, Kevin Feeley, Eoin Walsh, James Starmer, Paul White, Jack Gaule, Ryan Foley, Kevin Hurley, Wayne Robinson, Damien Cashin, James Connolly, David Richardson.
Referee: Tony Lacey.