Thursday, 20th September 2018
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Playoffs go down to the wire

Blues move on in FAI cup

Waterford banished a six year cup famine when they defeated Skerries Town on Saturday last. It was way back in May, 2012 that the Blues defeated another non league outfit Everton from Cork one nil. Following three consecutive league defeats this was a welcome victory for the local team and player coach Noel Hunt led the charge by scoring a hat trick. He became the first Waterford player to grab a cup treble since Gavin Doyle against Douglas Hall in 2006. Last Saturday was a wet and windy day and the match was played at the Skerries Town Rugby Club and the strong wind blowing in from Dublin Bay made life difficult for the players and spectators alike.

The Blues struck the front on 23 minutes thanks to an excellent Noel Hunt strike. The centre forward took possession of the ball 40 yards from goal and with keeper Shane Davis off his line, his snapshot sailed over the head of the Skerries keeper which settled the nerves of the Waterford fans.

Sander Puri was just off target with a cracking shot on the run on 26 minutes before Izzy Akinade had a header blocked out for a corner kick on 36 minutes that yielded the second goal. Keegan's delivery from the left wasn't dealt with by the home defence and Gavan Holohan took full advantage to blast the ball to the roof of the net.

Puri was guilty of missing two chances before the sound of the half time whistle when he missed the target twice from close range as his side went in at the half time break in control of the tie and with two goals on the board.

Bob McKenna could have halved the deficit for Skerries Town three minutes into the second half when he rounded keeper Niall Corbet, but his shot was into the sidenetting. Noel Hunt thought that he had scored his second of the game when he found the net with a tremendous free kick, but somehow an assistants' flag ruled the goal out.

Skerries Town went up the other end of the field and pulled a goal back with a large slice of luck on 53 minutes when Brian Snowe cracked a left footed strike that took a wicked deflection off a Blues player which took the ball past a helpless Corbet.

Shane Langan was off target with a header on 65 minutes before Garry Comerford struck the woodwork direct from a corner kick soon afterwards and when the ball broke to Gavan Holohan, his left footed volley flew inches over the crossbar.

A third Waterford goal put the tie beyond doubt on 85 minutes when Noel Hunt finished a Paul Keegan left wing corner kick to the net with a fine header and it was carbon copy of that goal as the striker netted his hat trick in the final minute of the game as the Blues look forward to a second round tie in two weeks' time.

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