League of Ireland, Premier Division
Waterford FC left The Tallaght Stadium on Friday night last empty handed after losing 3-1 to Shamrock Rovers. The outcome moved the Hoops to 62 points and it cemented third place for them on the league table.The Blues remain on 56 points and will now have to be content with fourth place, in what was their first season back in the Premier League following an absence of ten years. The Blues conceded an early goal but then enjoyed a golden spell between the 19th and 27th minutes but Alan Mannus produced three fine saves, and when Waterford conceded a soft set piece goal on 35 minutes the task of getting something from the game proved too much. Alan Reynolds made six changes from the team which lost to Dundalk the previous week with Paul Keegan, Sander Puri, Kenny Browne, Stanley Aborah, Cory Galvin and Dean O’Halloran coming in for Noe Baba, Izzy Akinade, David Webster, Courtney Duffus, CarlosWilson and Gavan Holohan.
Shamrock Rovers had the ball in the net inside two minutes when Dylan Watts finished to the net, but after consulting with his assistant Michelle O’Neill, referee Robert Harvey chalked off the goal for offside.
Gary Shaw went close to putting a dominant Rovers side in front on nine minutes but his free header from a Dan Carr cross was inches wide of the target. Rovers took the lead on 11 minutes when Dan Carr whipped in a dangerous cross to Gary Shaw who touched the ball to the net. The post denied the Blues an equalising goal on 27 minutes.
Dylan Barnett set up Rory Feely and his stunning first-time left-footed strike came crashing back off the upright with Mannus beaten.
Rovers doubled their lead on 36 minutes when Dylan Watts sent in a free kick that was knocked down into the path of Dan Carr and he swept a right-footed shot to the back of the net from deep inside the penalty area.Alan Reynolds reshuffled his side at half-time and Dessie Hutchinson and Izzy Akinade were introduced in place of Kenny Browne and Sander Puri as the Blues tried to get a foothold back into the game.
There was drama on the sideline on 55 minutes when fourth official David Dunne called Rob Harvey and both managers, Alan Reynolds and Stephen Bradley, were banished to the stands after words were exchanged between both benches.Dan Carr had a great chance to put the game out of Waterford’s reach on 67 minutes but he dragged a left-footed shot wide of Corbet’s far post.
Waterford got a goal back seven minutes later when Dessie Hutchinson picked out Izzy Akinade with an excellent cross and he planted a header to the near corner of the net past a helpless Rovers keeper Alan Mannus.The crossbar denied the home side their third goal with seven minutes remaining when Brandon Kavanagh whipped in a corner kick to Joey O’Brien, but his close-range free header came crashing back off the woodwork.Shamrock Rovers ensured all three points on 87 minutes when Ronan Finn sent over a cross that was touched home by Sean Boyd past a helpless Niall Corbet as Waterford’s hopes of bringing their season to the final day ended in defeat.