Wednesday, 11th July 2012
Waterford United made it three wins against Limerick this season with a stunning 2-1 victory over their Munster rivals in the RSC on Friday evening. Denis Behan had put Pat Scully's men into a first-half lead, but headed goals from Peter White, playing against his former club and Dylan Mernagh after the break secured another memorable derby win for the brilliant and ever improving Super Blues. They have developed a lovely habit of winning, and one has to go back to ten games to find their last defeat. Limerick are by all accounts the highest paid squad in both division's, but they quite simply cannot get the better of Waterford this season. This was the third time this season that Paul O'Brien's men (and young boy's) have beaten the Shannonsiders and they have now closed the gap to just four points on the mega bucks Treaty City outfit. The Waterford team showed two changes from the one which began against Wexford the previous week. David Breen came in for the suspended Seamus Long and Peter Higgins replaced the injured Ben Ryan, on what was a rain lashed evening. Don't you just love summer soccer !
Limerick took the lead after 22 minutes when Shane Tracey went down the left flank. His cross into the box broke between defender Craig Burns and striker Rory Gaffney, and when it rolled into the path of Denis Behan, the highly paid striker found the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area.
Paul O'Brien admitted after the game that he told the players to have more belief in themselves at half time and they came out like men possessed for the second 45 minutes. Waterford's wonder child, Sean Maguire began to threaten the Limerick defence with his twisting, wriggling brand of ball manipulation and all of a sudden a Munster derby was taking place before our disbelieving eyes. This was magic. This was wonderful. Memories of days long gone came flooding back, as both teams went at each other hammer and tongs as the rain lashed down on the baize like and incredibly manicured RSC playing surface.
On 54 minutes, it was the home side that looked to have found the game's crucial second strike, but an excellent aerial save from Barry Ryan denied a decidedly salmonesque rise and headed effort from David Breen. The Blues would not be denied though, and from the resulting corner Peter White nodded home Paul Phelan's near-post delivery to equalise. Playing against his former club, White almost tore the net from the rigging, such was the power of his header.
Waterford now began to enjoy arguably their best spell of football thus far this season, pushing their opponents deeper and deeper as they calmly probed for a winning goal. With tackles flying and water surfacing, this epic was beginning to reach fever pitch as both sets of supporters began to really lift their hero's from the well populated stands. The blueprint had already been drawn of course, and on 65 minutes Gary Dempsey curled over a flag kick from the left and this time young defender Dylan Mernagh took his turn to head home. The ginger haired left full back ran the length of the field to celebrate his wonder goal, and he had every right to do so.
Limerick now scrambled to locate their own blueprint for winning the game, but discovered it had been badly smudged in the downpour and thus they decided to rain balls down upon the Waterford goal and see if the Blues defence could weather their storm. Thankfully for Paul O'Brien, they could and they did. Craig Burns, the flame-haired Mernagh, Paul Carey and the ageless David Breen were all later given glowing praise for their resolute second-half performance, and aided by the occasional relief of youthful, Maguire-inspired counter-attacks, they clung on for a vital three points in the push for promotion. Next up is a visit from SD Galway this Friday at 7.45pm. The Blues bandwagon is now in full flight.
Waterford United: Packie Holden; Paul Carey, Craig Burns, David Breen, Dylan Mernagh; Peter Higgins, Gary Dempsey (Conor Coad 92), Peter White, Paul Phelan (Jack Doherty 60); Peter Keegan, Sean Maguire.
Subs not used: Robbie Hughes, Stephen Mulcahy, Jamie Cross, John Frost, Gary Keane.
Letters to the Editor
- A Government Successread more »
Once in a blue moon. As rare as hen's teeth. A Government success. Each of those three sentences are as unusual and as rare as each other. But the last one seems to be about to take place. The Government has announced that it plans to give each child in the State a second year of free pre-school. It might not sound like earth shattering news but if it does happen then it could be one of the most significant things that this Government has done since it took office. Any money that is given over to education is a …
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