Monday, 11th December 2017
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Mahony steers Waterford home

Nine years on from their last competitive win at Headquarters the Waterford Senior Hurlers proved too strong for a resilient Dublin on Saturday night last in the Allianz National League. This Deise outfit, although many just out of under 21 grade, were well worth their five point victory and more important the two league points which at the end of the day could well prove the difference between qualifying or being an "also ran". As part of a double header, Dublin and Mayo contested the second game in the Football League, there was a reasonable attendance but not quite the thirty five thousand that were there when the football started. Shows the power of the "big ball" game in the Capital and what success does for a county. That said no one could fault the Dublin hurlers who strived manfully against a well oiled Waterford machine.

The early exchanges saw the visitors breach the Dublin defence with Stephen Bennett smashing a ground stroke to the net with a point from ace freetaker Paudie Mahony edging them 1-1 to 0-2 in front after ten minutes. The Dubs scores coming from Eamon Dillon and freetaker Donal Burke. In the following five minutes it was Dublin who carved out the chances with three unanswered points from Chris Crummy, Donal Burke and Dillon. Waterford slow into stride but Paudie Mahony converted after goalkeeper Conor Dooley misfielded. Rian McBride added a point after the Naomh Unsion forward collected and raced through. Eamon Dillon, whose roaming was causing huge problems for the Waterford defence, then collected from Ryan O'Dwyer and pointed 0-7 to 1-2 after seventeen minutes. The Waterford defence was caught cold in the 19th minute as Ryan O'Dwyer and Donal Burke combined for the latter to crash the ball past Ian O'Regan. Paudie Mahony converted a free on 20 minutes but almost immediately a foul on Donal Burke saw the Na Fianna man point 1-8 to 1-3. Stephen Daniels was booked for the challenge.

In the 22nd minute a foul on Shane Bennett brought a free and the ever accurate Paudie Mahony pointed. Again it was Eamon Dillon who collected the puck out and added a Dublin point to restore the five point advantage for his team 1-9 to 1-4. Dublin created another opportunity in the 25th minute as Caolan Conroy was fouled but this time Donal Burke from in front of the goal saw his effort sail wide. Stradbally clubman Michael Walsh was doing a huge amount of work in the midfield/half forward area for the Deise as he made space for Kevin Moran to place hurler-of-the-year Austin Gleeson for a point. The Mount Sion man then saw a huge effort, from a sideline ball, collected and cleared by Dublin corner back James Madden. Dublin freetaker Donal Burke was again off target with a free before Tadhg de Burca sent Kevin Moran in for a point and the lead was back to 1-9 to 1-6. A huge catch and run from Gleeson brought the lead back to just two points and when a foul on Kevin Moran gave Mahony the opportunity for Ballygunner to split the posts 1-9 to 1-8. In additional time in the opening half Dublin added another point through Burke as he converted following a foul on Eamon Dillon. Half time and Dublin leading by two points 1-10 to 1-8.

Waterford had worked hard in the opening half with Kevin Moran, Michael "Brick" Walsh, Noel Connors and Tadgh de Burca all driving forward. There was also the threat of Gleeson who could cause untold panic in a defence with his searing pace. Up front the Bennett Brothers, Shane and Stephen, were a threat and they could always depend on the accuracy of Paudie Mahony to keep the scoreboard ticking along.

The opening minutes of the second half had a definite impact on the Dublin performance. Corner forward Fionnan McGib was booked within thirty seconds. Waterford launched a long delivery into the Dubs goalmouth. Keeper Conor Dooley miscontrolled his pick up and Stephen Bennett tucked the ball in the back of the net. Bennett and Mahony added two points either side of a huge effort from Gleeson which sailed narrowly wide 2-10 to 1-10. Donal Burke fired over from midfield and Ryan O'Dwyer added another for Dublin but the Waterford defence was slowly gaining the upper hand. Noel Connors and Shane Fives swopped positions. Austin Gleeson landed a point. A free to Dublin in the 44th minute but again Burke was off target. He did however make amends two minutes later as he landed a difficult effort from out wide 2-11to 1-13.

Ex minor star Cian Boland saw action for Dublin as Maurice Shanahan replaced Mikey Kearney in the Deise attack. Paudie Mahony added a brace of point from frees in the 47th and 50th minutes.

Dublin were finding it increasingly difficult in gaining clean possession although Ryan O'Dwyer added a point in the 53rd minute. Paudie Mahony however did likewise for Waterford. A superb strike from

Stephen Bennett landed a point in the 55th minute and a Paudie Mahony free edged the visitors 2-16 to 1-14 ahead after 56 minutes. Niall McMorrow and Paudie Mahony shared a brace of points Brian O'Halloran replaced Shane Bennett in the Waterford attack. Maurice Shanahan got his name on the scoreboard in the 64th minute but Rian McBride did likewise for Dublin a minute later. Manager Derek McGrath sent on Jake Dillon and

Darragh Lyons as Paudie Mahony just failed with a difficult free.

However the Ballygunner sharpshooter made amends a minute later as he landed his twelfth point (0-10f) of the day 2-19 to 1-16. In the time remaining a foul by Stephen Daniels saw him receive a second yellow card as Donal Burke pointed. Final score

2-19 to 1-6 saw a deserved win for Waterford and they now go forward with plenty of confidence to face Cork in Walsh Park on Sunday next.

FOOTBALLERS SUFFER SECOND DEFEAT

Having opened their Allianz National Football League campaign with victories over both London and Wicklow the mountain is beginning to loom for Waterford following consecutive defeats to both Wexford and Westmeath. Ok, it is fair to say that the form of both the latter counties sees them at the head of the standings for promotion and they have now stretched away from the pack. That said Waterford have performed very well in all their outings thus far. A win over both London, who have on occasions proven a real banana skin for the Deise, and Wicklow whom they beat rather snugly was followed by a defeat to Wexford. No doubt the Slaneysiders made better use of the conditions in the second half in Wexford Park. That said the Deise have certainly appeared to be improving and can look forward with some confidence to a visit to Carlow on 18th.

Westmeath on Sunday last opted to play with the support of a very strong wind in the opening half and this more or less defined the game. A goal from Kieran Martin on 26 minutes saw the Midlanders 1-6 to 0-0 ahead. Waterford were struggling to get attacks moving. Conditions were playing a big part. The Westmeath lead at the break was a huge 1-9 to 0-1 and when Kieran Martin goaled for a second time ten minutes after the restart, the team in Maroon led by a whopping thirteen points 2-11 to

0-4. That said Waterford continued to seek out scores and late in the game two strikes from Joey Veale, a fisted effort, and Gavin Crotty found the net. Unfortunately the lead was never going to be pegged back and Waterford suffered the second defeat of the current campaign by 3-13 to 2-11. The third goal for the visitors came as a Waterford defender stepped back and was adjudged over the line to concede an own goal.

Manager Tom McGlinchy and his backroom could certainly not fault the effort from Waterford with five players, as the visitors, contributing to the scoreboard, Gavin Crotty 1-2, Joey Veale 1-1, Patrick Hurney and Donie Breathnach 0-3 each and two from Conor Murray. No doubt there were many positives from the opening four games of the league and with a little luck Waterford can certainly collect points from their remaining games to steer them to at least mid table.

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