Blues return to top of table
Waterford FC are back on top of the league table (on goal difference from UCD) following this victory over Wexford FC at the RSC on Saturday last. The largest crowd to watch a league game at the Kilbarry venue for many years came to watch a rip-roaring South East Derby but it has to be said this was not typical of previous encounters between the two clubs. However they did see two fantastic goals scored by Mark O'Sullivan who has now scored five goals to date since he joined the club from Cork City. Republic of Ireland and WBA star James McClean was present to watch his brother Patrick play a blinder for the Blues and he himself played a blinder by signing autographs and posing for ``selfies'' with adoring fans all through the evening. He was deeply touched by the manner in which Waterford FC paid tribute to his friend Ryan McBride who tragically died suddenly in the week leading up to this encounter. Ryan was the Derry City captain and he lost his life at the age of 27 years and his passing saddened everyone who follows football, a fact acknowledged by James McClean.
The hosts took the lead on ten minutes when Patrick McClean won a superb tackle in his own half that released Mark O'Sullivan, who played a neat one two with David McDaid before racing clear on goal before slotting a right-footed shot past the advancing Graham Doyle from the top of the penalty area.
Wexford FC did have chance to get themselves back on level terms less than three minutes later when Ricky Fox sent over a free kick that was knocked down by Sean Hurley into the path of Lee Duffy but his shot lacked power as keeper Ian McLoughlin saved with ease.
With the visitors carving out a couple of half chances, it was keeper McLoughlin that did really well on the stroke of the half time whistle when he cleared his lines superbly inside the penalty area after a Shane Dunne left-wing corner caused problems.
In a game of limited opportunities, David McDaid did go close to doubling the Waterford FC lead on 58 minutes when Kenny McEvoy did well down the right side before crossing into the area for the striker but his effort flashed inches wide of the right-hand post.
A second Blues goal did arrive eight minutes later which oozed quality as a sweeping move saw Kenny McEvoy get free down the right side before crossing to the back post under pressure from Andrew O'Connor and Mark O'Sullivan rose highest to power a header to the back of the net with the aid of the underside of the crossbar.
This goal really took the sting out of the contest as the Blues were in control and under no real pressure from their opponents. With the defence on top form so was goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin as he kept another cleansheet when he produced a top save five minutes from time to divert a cracking shot from Lee Duffy around the posts.
The sound of the final whistle brought the curtain down on events on the field and in a fitting final tribute to Ryan McBride, players of Waterford FC and Wexford FC, along with the match officials, signed a book of condolence to top off a night of raw emotion. Next up for the Blues is an away journey to the City Calling Stadium in Longford this Saturday. Kick-off 8.00pm.
Waterford FC. Ian McLoughlin; Robin Dempsey, Patrick McClean, Kenny Browne, Shane O'Connor; Kenny McEvoy, Anthony McAlavey (Garry Comerford `74), Tom Smith, Derek Daly (Dean O'Halloran `87); Mark O'Sullivan, David McDaid (Conor Whittle `90).
Wexford FC. Graham Doyle; Ricky Fox, Ross Kenny, Craig McCabe, Andrew O'Connor; Adam Hanlon (Liam Donnelly `86), Thomas Croke (Craig Hayes `78), Craig Wall, Shane Dunne, Sean Hurley (Eoin Porter `68); Lee Duffy.
Referee: Alan Carey. Assistants. Michelle O'Neill and Philip Harrison.