Double Delight Deise
Last weekend saw both the Waterford Fotballers and Hurlers garner points in the Allianz National Leagues. On a bitterly cold and wet Saturday evening the Tom McGlinchy managed footballers claimed their second win of the current league campaign when they came through by eight points (1-17 to 1-9) in Carriganore. Having comprehensively beaten London the previous weekend there was every reason to believe that another two points against Wicklow was quite achieveable. In the event the fans who turned up at Carriganore were treated to a display of determination and indeed, no little skill from Waterford as they led throughout and thoroughly deserved their second win of the current campaign. There was a winning belief within the squad and if that can be carried forward for the rest of the games, starting with unbeaten Wexford in two weeks time, then Waterford will certainly not be far away at the end.
It was the home side who showed the brighter start and within ten minutes of Tipperary referee Sean Lonergan getting proceedings underway they led by 0-5 to 0-1 with 2 points from Paul Whyte and one apiece from Donie Breathnach, Joey Veale and Conor Murray. Wicklow midfielder Rory Finn had a brace for the Garden County as Podge Hurney added one forWaterford. Seanie
Furlong had a third point for Wicklow as Waterford continued to dominate posession. Indeed in the 22nd minute they opened up the visitors defence but failed to convert. Two points followed from Patrick Hurney and another superb effort from Joey Veale to see the Deise six ahead 0-9 to 0-3 with five minutes remaining in the half. A neat combination between Sean Furling and Tommy Kelly gave Anthony McLoughlin a chance to point but two more from Paul Whyte saw Waterford seven ahead. As the game moved in to additional time the visitors were thrown a life line as the referee pointed to the spot after some pulling and dragging. Full forward Furlong billowed the net so despite their possession and attacking advantages Waterford led by just four 0-11 to 1-4 at the break.
Within four minutes of the restart Wicklow were back to within two points of Waterford as Barndarrig clubman added a brace. Superb defending from Brian Looby cut out a potential threat as the Ballinacourty blocked a shot from Tommy Kelly. An excellent point from Patrick
Hurney edged Waterford back four in front (0-13 to 1-6) as Gavin Crotty replaced Conor Murray. Two points in the 52nd and 54th minutes from Paul Whyte and Donie Breathnach saw Waterford back six in front. Seanie Furlong and Paddy Byrne had Wicklow points as Liam Lawlor and Fergal O'Cuirrin saw action for Waterford. With just three points between the sides the outcome was beginning to slip towards a knife edge but it changed dramatically in the 61st minute. A sweeping four man move out of defence saw Gavin Crotty race through and he slickly put the ball past Robert Lambert in the Wicklow goal. Paul Whyte landed a point (1-16 to 1-9) as the management brought in Stephen Dalton. The final score of a very entertaining game came from Rathgormack midfielder Michael Curry as both Caoimhain Maguire and Frank Galvin saw action. Waterford had claimed the victory and the all important points which must surely put them in good heart for the visit to undefeated Wexford in two weeks time.
HURLERS TOPPLE THE CATS
Its not very often we can travel to Nowlan Park in Kilkenny, come away with victory and say we really deserved it. Well, that was the scenario on Sunday last for the opening round of the Allianz Hurling League. Minus the services of Player of the Year Austin Gleeson who was replaced by Stephen Daniels before the start the management, under Derek McGrath, made three other personnel changes with Mikey Kearney, Tom Devine and Shane Bennett also making the opening fifteen. The talk was that Kilkenny had been impressive in their Walsh Cup campaign defeating Galway in the final and were fully focussed on this opening game against their neighbours and rivals Waterford. The Deise on the other hand had experimented throughout the Munster League but had now brought in a number of seasoned regulars. A crowd of over eight and a half thousand turned up at the Hebron Road venue with quite a sizeable number from the Deise.
The opening minutes were electric with Mikey Kearney just wide with a line ball effort. The pace was furious for national league with neither team giving anything away. In the third minute with a blank scoreboard, Ballysaggart very nearly caught the Cats defence and only a superb save from Eoin Murphy prevented a goal. A couple of Waterford chances drifted wide of the target before TJ Reid pointed a free from just inside the 45 metre line. The Waterford reply was swift with Conor Gleeson and a brace from Paudie Mahony (frees) edging them ahead. Waterford centre back Tadhg de Burca was immense in defence and fouls on the Clashmore/ Kinsalebeg clubman set up the opportunity for Mahony to score. Reid added a second point for Kilkenny from a free before the Cats defence was breached. Superb work from Kevin Moran and Tom Devine saw Patrick Curran free and the
Dungarvan forward crashed to the net 1-3 to 0-2. Richie Hogan and Reid added two points for Kilkenny as indeed did Patrick Curran and man of the match Jamie Barron for Waterford . TJ Reid had a brace of points for Kilkenny as Paudie Mahony did likewise for Waterford 1-7 to 0-6. The two freetakers (Reid/Mahony) again had a point apiece before Pat Lyng reduced the deficit to three points 1-8 to 0-8.
On 30 minutes Mikey Kearney evaded the cover but his shot screamed across the goal and wide. In the final five minutes of the opening half Paudie Mahony converted three frees for Waterford as Liam Blanchfield and Ollie Walsh added two for Kilkenny to leave the 1-11 to 0-10 at the break.
The opening minutes of the second half saw Waterford increase their lead with points from Paudie Mahony and Jamie Barron. Kilkenny then hit a "purple patch" with four unanswered points from substitute Walter Walsh and three from TJ Reid to leave just two between the sides and ten minutes remaining. Both managers saw fit to look to their substitutes as Derek McGrath brought in Austin Gleeson and Brian O'Halloran. A point from Paudie Mahony from a free, following a pick off the ground, saw three points between the sides once again as Jake Dillon came into the attack. An Austin Gleeson free was cleared but Jamie Barron was on hand to point. The atmosphere by league standards was superb with both teams realising the importance of a winning start. TJ Reid had a point for Kilkenny as did goalkeeper Eoin Murphy from a free from midfield. Gavin O'Brien and Shane McNulty saw action for Waterford two points ahead 1-15 to 0-16. With precious little time on the clock Liam Blanchfield had a Kilkenny point and in the remaining minutes the Waterford defence remained watertight to give them a hugely important win and accompanying two points. Next up on Sunday Waterford face Tipperary in Walsh Park and that should draw a huge crowd to the Keane's Road venue.
LIT END WIT BID
A huge crowd turned up at the WIT Arena on Tuesday of last week for the final round of the group series of the Fitzgibbon Cup. This competition for third level colleges sees a galaxy of Senior Intercounty stars ply their wares and Tuesday was no exception. The Waterford college, led by Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson, had a huge task in front of them. LIT one of the long standing favourites to win the competition had already secured their place at the quarter final table. Indeed nothing less than an eleven point win would suffice for the Waterford college to qualify.
Limerick got off to the best possible start as within three minutes of referee Jonny Ryan's throw-in, Clare county man David Reidy had placed David Dempsey for the opening goal. A point apiece from Diarmuid Byrnes and Wit centre back Joe O'Dwyer had the lead at three points but WIT will bemoan some poor shooting which saw at least four efforts outside the target. The WIT defence was breached for the second time on 22 minutes as Reidy again proved provider and Peter Duggan capitalised for a goal. The Waterford college battled manfully with points from Liam McGrath, Joe O'Connor and Shane McNulty but they were rocked back as Deise star Shane Bennett, plying his trade with LIT, clinically despatched a penalty past Mark Fanning. With their tails up LIT drove forward and points from Barry O'Connell and Sean Ryan saw them ahead by six 3-6 to 0-9 at the break. The second half continued as the first with LIT in command but it could so easily have turned. In the 41st minute a penalty ensued for WIT which goalkeeper Mark Fanning crashed to the net. Within two minutes Austin Gleeson did likewise from a twenty metre free. The same Gleeson then added a point from a free from well inside his own 65 and this cut the deficit to the minimum 3-10 to 2-12. To curb the threat of the WIT attack the Limerick team played Jamie Shanahan as an extra man in defence. Goals followed for the Shannonsiders from Galway senior Paul Killeen and substitute Jason McCarthy to give them an unassailable lead with time winding down. However Waterford did have a goal in the dying minute from Shane Murphy but this was too little too late and LIT had secured their home quarter final against UCD.