Waterford United 1 – 3 Shamrock Rovers
Shamrock Rovers historically do not have a great record against Waterford at Under 19 level. When the teams met at the RSC earlier this season the game resulted in a scoreless draw. The return game played at Roadstone in late July saw the Blues emerge 2-1 victors in a blood and guts affair.
It was beginning to look much the same today after 23 minutes when Daryl Walsh headed the home side into the lead in the game played on the back pitch at the RSC. Waterford won a corner and the ball travelled passed the clutter of players in front of goal as far as Walsh on the far side and the Portlaw native got his head to it to score. It had looked as though Walsh’s effort was going to go over the bar but to the dismay of the Hoops it dipped into the net.
The Hoops levelled matters seven matters later. Emmanuel Lawal was fouled by midfielder Shane Griffin. Richie English floated in a fine free which was met by the head of a high diving Dean Dillon who beat Paul Martin in the Blues’ goal to make it 1-1. A minute later English had another free from almost the exact same spot but lightning wasn’t to strike twice. In the 33rd minute Owen Wall for Waterford drove wide after he was closed down by Conor Gleeson.
Just before half time Sean Roche went close for the Blues but it remained at 1-1 as the teams broke for the break.
The Hoops had the benefit of a very strong wind at their backs in the second half. Seven minutes into the half a golden opportunity fell to Rovers when Gleeson broke down the left and spotted Sean Boyd completely unmarked in front of goal but a defender got a touch on Gleeson’s delivery at the expense of a corner.
Waterford also had a good chance in the 58th minute when John Martin sent the ball over the bar from close range. They had two other good chances within a short spell after that.
The game was still very open at this point with both sides creating a lot. A really good opportunity came for the Hoops in the 63rd minute after some impressive battling and determination from team captain Harry Cornally who was playing at right full. Cornally managed to get the ball into Dillon who was forced to play it back out to Josh Hogan who then swung the ball across to Lawal who just couldn’t get his head to it to finish it off.
It was Waterford who should have gone ahead in the 65th minute after they mounted a quick attack down the right which allowed Eoin Wall to get past ‘keeper Bazunu who came out to meet the Blues’ player. Wall thought he had done enough to send the ball over the line but Cian Collins managed to get there in the nick of time and clear it with his left foot. That was a nice piece of coolness shown by Collins.
The turning point of the game came six minutes later after Dillon was fouled almost on the half way line. English again stood up to take the free and with the aid of the strong wind delivered the ball into the box from a distance and Dillon again met it with his head to make the score 2-1.
A few minutes after that English took another free from which he tried to land the ball into the box but with the wind being so strong in his favour had he tried to score himself he may very have done so. Waterford went to three at the back with five minutes of normal time remaining but two minutes later they went further behind and what a goal it was.
Just as Dillon looked like he might have gotten a touch in the box to net a hat trick a Blues’ defender managed to clear but in came Boyd who was like grease lighting as he seized on it and drove a thunderbolt into the back of the net. That effectively was it as there was no way back for Waterford.
The Hoops will travel to play Cabinteely next weekend in the Shield semi-final. The South Dublin club proved they have the X Factor when they beat Dundalk 3-0 at Oriel Park this afternoon.
Interesting to mention that the top item on the sports bulletin on Waterford Local Radio this afternoon wasn’t an account the Liverpool v Man United game but the game from the RSC. Full credit to WLR for having reporter Matt Keane present and for dedicating some decent air time on the match report and on the preview of Waterford’s Under 17s league semi-final against Dundalk.
Shamrock Rovers: 1, Gavin Bazunu; 8. Harry Cornally, 16. Cian Collins, 4. Darragh Gibbons, 3. Conor Gleeson; 7. Emmanuel Lawal, 6. Evan White, 10. Richie English, 9. Dean Dillon, 17. Adam Doyle; 15. Sean Boyd.
Substitutes: 11. Josh Hogan (for Doyle h.t.), 2. Conor Fitzharris.