Wednesday, 4th July 2012
GAA notes by The Villager
Waterford faced Wicklow in Aughrim last weekend in the opening round of the All-Ireland football qualifiers. This was a difficult enough assignment and the Garden County venue has been somewhat of a Wicklow fortress in recent years. Nonetheless the Deise bearing in mind recent Allianz League results against the same opposition could travel with a certain amount of confidence. Waterford collected both points in their previous meeting with a four goal salvo in the opening twenty minutes. The management team led by John Owens would be happy enough with their charges if they could replicate some of the outstanding league results the team had been able to "dig out" earlier in the year. The opening round of the Munster championship saw Waterford face Limerick in the Athletic grounds where they went down to a very disappointing 2-12 to 0-7 defeat. Notwithstanding the lads now had an opportunity to put a positive spin on the year and a win over Wicklow would certainly give the whole panel a huge boost.
Wicklow were quickly into their stride but heroic defending from the O'Gormans, Tony Grey, Shane Briggs et al saw the Deise keep the opposing attack in check. The visitors led 0-4 to 0-1 thanks to the industry of Patrick Hurney, Killian O'Keeffe and Paul Whyte and it looked as though there could be somewhat of a surprise on the cards. Richie Whyte and Ton Hannon brought the hosts to within a point but good work again from Hurney and Whyte saw Waterford 0-7 to 0-3 ahead with ten minutes left in the opening half. An off-the-ball incident saw Waterford talisman Gary Hurney dismissed in the 26th minute but despite the numerical disadvantage Waterfords continued tofight for every ball and held the three point advantage at the break.
The second half saw Wicklow reorganise their fifteen. Dean healy and John McGrath added points to close the deficit. They were then handed a massive boost when Conor McGraynor burst through the Waterford defence to goal past a helpless Stephen Enright. It looked as though the pendulum had swung towards Wicklow with Waterford down to fourteen men however, Mark ferncombe and Paul Whyte had points to edge the Deise ahead once again. It could have been a real glory day for Waterford but Mark ferncombe saw his effort come crashing back off the post with the Wicklow keeper well and truly beaten. As time ticked down and Waterford challenging for everything it was a very relieved Wicklow team that finally got the draw through Alan Byrne to bring the game to extra time.
To be fair it was always going to be an uphill struggle for Waterford in the extra allotted time and Wicklow edged away to record a 1-17 to 0-15 win.
In hindsight the hosts probably deserved the win although one must add that Waterford contributed enormously to a very entertaining game. The lads showed real spirit and controlled aggression and with a little luck could conceivably have made it through. For now it is back to domestic fare.
Minors Overrun In Second Half
At halftime in the Munster Minor Hurling semi-final in Semple Stadium, Thurles on Wednesday last, Waterford were well in the "hunt" to put one over on the Premier although they trailed 1-8 to 0-7. This particular Tipperary team have been touted as one to watch in this year's championship but the Deise lads had given as good as they got over the opening thirty odd minutes. Despite some early goal chances from the home side the Waterford defence was breached on just the one occasion in that opening half when in the 10th minute Sean Ryan burst through the Deise rearguard to goal. Indeed it might have been so much closer as Darragh Flynn was just wide with a Waterford effort having skipped through the Tipperary backs.
The home side virtually killed the game as a contest within five minutes of the restart as Tom Gallagher added a goal to points from Mark McCarthy and John McGrath. The Premier now in the ascendancy gave Waterford a mountain to climb leading by eleven points and so it continued. Despite the efforts of goalkeeper Sean Barry, Miceal Harney, Stephen Bennett and Shane McNulty it was Tipperary who ran up the scores and left Waterford on the wrong end of a hugely disappointing 2-25 to 0-12 scoreline.
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