Sunday, 19th November 2017
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Blues march on in dramatic fashion

Waterford FC 1 Dundalk 1 (AET). Waterford won 4-3 on pens)

The relentless run of victories of the Waterford Under 17 team continued at the RSC on Saturday last. To date they have won the Southern Section of the Elite League and a few weeks ago they were crowned cup champions. This game was the quarter final of the National League overall. The top four in the Southern Section joined up with the top four in the Northern Section and the Blues were drawn against a Dundalk side who had finished 4th in their section. The Blues were favourites to come out on top and had to go all the way to book a place in the last four. The contest had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out and Charlie Heffernan the home goalkeeper proved to be the hero just as he did in an earlier cup match against St Patrick's Athletic. This was as dramatic as it gets and credit has to go to both teams for serving up such entertainment. Waterford will have home advantage once again in the semi-final. Waterford opened up brightly enough and they carved out a chance after ten minutes. Greg Waters sent over a cross from the left which was met by Oisin Knox but his header was held by the visiting goalkeeper David Odumosu.The Lilywhites who lined out in an all black strip took the lead on 17 minutes. They forced a corner kick out on the right. Luke Byrne took the flag kick and defender Mark Traynor was left unmarked inside the 18 yards box and his powerful header flew into the roof of the net. The visitors controlled the remainder of the opening half without adding to their total and the closest Waterford came to scoring arrived on 41 minutes from a free kick but David Odumosu got swiftly to save Colm Whelan's effort. When the teams came out for the second period and it was clear to see that a lot of hard talking had taken place in the Waterford dressing room because they looked a completely different team and they almost equalised on 48 minutes. Jack Larkin floated over a cross from the left which was met by Colm Whelan. His header struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down on to the line. The Waterford players appealed that the ball had indeed crossed the line but the assistant referee Paul Butler was having none of it. Five minutes later Colm Whelan almost scored the goal of the season. He took possession of the ball deep inside his own half before taking off and they skipped past five players before charging into the penalty area. He then shot on the run but the Dundalk goalkeeper David Odumosu advanced quickly to block Whelan's brilliant effort. The hosts continued to dominate proceedings and the inevitable equaliser arrived on 57 minutes. Lee Costello got space out on the right and when he played the ball into the six yards box Jack Larkin found a little bit of space to side-foot the ball to the net. Regix Madika and Jack Larkin again went close afterwards and Darragh Power had a glorious chance to win he game 12 minutes from the final whistle but he shot straight at David Odumosu with the goal at his mercy. The Blues had another brilliant opportunity in the last minute of the second half of extra time. Adam Conway just like Darragh Power was given a lot of space near the goal but on this occasion David Odumosu produced a stunning save. Colm Whelan and Adam Kirwan were successful for their respective teams when the penalty shoot-out got underway. Kallum Broaders then had his spot kick saved and Jamie Browne made no mistake for Dundalk. Mike Nzongong and Neil Kerr then exchanged successful kicks. Adam Conway rattled the net with Waterford's 4th spot kick and Charlie Heffernan then saved brilliantly from Peter Shields and at this stage it was all level at 3-3. Jack Larkin hammered home Waterford's 5th penalty kick so it came down once again to Charlie Heffernan. Kevin Kelly went forward to take the kick and he fell to his knees as Heffernan once again produced an absolutely spell binding save . It was dramatic to say the least and now the Blues can look forward to another home draw in the semi-final.

Waterford FC. Charlie Heffernan, Kallum Broaders, Lee Costello, Adam Conway, Darragh Power, Greg Waters, Jack Larkin, Dean Beresford, Oisin Knox, Colm Whelan, Regix Madika.

Subs. Mike Nzongong for Knox (79) Torik Adegoke for Costello (80) Jack O'Donnell for Madika (88)

Dundalk. David Odumosu, Neil Kerr, Christian Jones, Mark Traynor, James Prendergast, Luke Doherty, Jamie Wynne, Chris McFadden, Luke Graham, Luke Byrne, Kevin Kelly.

Subs. Jamie Browne for Doherty (24) Peter Shields for Byrne (60) Daniel Bogdamous (81) Adam Kirwan for Graham (97)

Referee. Peter O'Connor. Assistants. Paul Butler and Gavin Keyes.

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