Thursday, 26th April 2018
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Cork ease to McGrath Cup

Showdown

The Waterford Senior Football team bowed out of the McGrath Cup on Sunday last in Ballinacourty as they went down to Cork on a 2-18 to 0-7 scoreline. Indeed following a heavy defeat to Clare the previous weekend it was a mountain to climb for Tom McGlinchy and his charges as they would have to win and depend on the result of the fixture next week between Clare and Cork. There was, as there is always, that slightest chance they could make the final. If both Waterford and Clare beat Cork then the Deise would be through to meet Clare. If Waterford won and Cork beat Clare, comprehensively, then scoring difference might just get them through as all teams would be on two points. If Cork won then it was all over for the Deise.

Going into this game, no doubt, the Waterford management would be hoping to get as much competition into the team as they could before the upcoming start of the Allianz National Football League. Waterford open their league campaign with an away game against Wicklow in Joule Park Aughrim on Sunday 28th January with a home game against Antrim the following week. Not an easy start to the competition with just three weeks to finalize plans so games such as those against Clare and Cork can be so beneficial in giving players a chance of cementing a starting place.

The Cork players, under new manager Ronan McCarthy from Carbery Rangers club, would certainly be taking little for granted and their focus would also be to impress the incoming management team. Incidentally manager Ronan McCarthy has served as a selector for both Conor Counihan and Brian Cuthbert in the period 2013 to 2016 so he was bringing much experience to the position. The Cork Bainisteoir was also part of the Rebels senior set up as a player winning two Munster Football titles so he was bringing a huge amount of both playing and management experience into the role.

With the elements at their backs the visitors were quick to make an impact. Led by Stephen Sherlock St Finbarrs, and John O'Rourke (Carbery Rangers) they built up a 0-9 to 0-0 lead in the opening quarter.

Waterford were struggling when Sean Power goaled before the break there was already a huge "ask" for the home team. Sherlock and O'Rourke continued to torment the Waterford defence as the Rebels led 1-13 to 0-1 at the break. The Waterford score from Michael Curry. Unfortunately the Deise also had a Gavin Crotty goal disallowed which might have given the team a step on the ladder. A priority for the Cork management would surely be to gain promotion from Division Two of the Allianz National League and with the start just around the corner, they were not going to relent even with a fifteen point lead.

The opening minutes of the second half saw Waterford, now playing with the breeze, creating some chances and two points from Gavin Crotty and Jason Curry gave them a little momentum. Points from Cian Dorgan and  Stephen Sherlock saw the fifteen point lead retained by Cork. In the time remaining Waterford had points from substitute JJ Hutchinson and Jason Curry but Cork breached the Deise defence for a second time before the end as Sean Power crossed for Padraig Clancy to goal and so set themselves up for a final encounter against Clare.

The Rebels were due to play Clare in the final game of the series next weekend in a "dead rubber" as both teams are qualified so it is likely that the final game will be the concluding game of the competition with the McGrath Cup at stake.

All in all the results probably reflect the difference between Waterford and two teams from Division Two who have high hopes of at least making a huge effort to gain promotion to the top tier. Incidentally on St. Patricks Day Cork face Clare and that could, depending on their results, be a make or break for their promotion bids.

For Waterford it is now a case of preparing for their opening encounter in the league. Over the past few years they have had a very positive opening to the competition and if that could be maintained then, there is every reason to believe that a bold bid could be on the agenda.

Again with the Waterford backroom, under manager Tom McGlinchy, making a number of changes it is certainly giving all players that opportunity of game time. The Waterford team lined out as follows; David Whitty (Gaultier); Brian Looby (Ballinacourty), Thomas O'Gorman (Nire), Dylan Guiry (Nire); James McGrath (Nire), Shane Ryan (Nire), Caoimhin Maguire (Gaultier); Michael Curry (Rathgormack), Tommy Prendergast (Kilrossanty); Gavin Crotty (Dungarvan), Joey Veale (Kilrossanty), Michael O'Halloran (Ballinacourty); Conor Murray (Rathgormack), Paul Whyte (Kilrossanty), Jason Curry (Rathgormack); Substitutes JJ Hutchinson, Martin Scurry, Gary Cullinan (Gaultier) all saw some action.

REMINDER

Once again to remind all supporters that the Waterford GAA Club Season tickets are now available. The cost Adult E120 and OAP's E80. These can be purchased from the office in Walsh Park, Elvery's Sports and David Walsh in Dungarvan.

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