The somewhat neglected younger brother of the FAI Cup produced yet another lacklustre affair as Limerick progress to the quarter finals after brushing a poor Waterford team aside by a scoreline of a goal to nil. Garbhan Coughlan's strike was enough to put the Shannonsiders into the last eight of the competition.
The first Munster derby between these sides this season had all the pre-game signs of a drab tie. The sky appeared overcast, a small crowd and a circle of people suffering from Bank Holiday hangovers engulfed the pitch. The game would offer little more entertainment than the pre match signs suggested.
The game started a canter, with both sets of players lining up somewhat defensively, clogging the midfield. The first and only real chance of the entire game for the away side arrived four minutes in, as a long ball from Kenny Browne somehow evaded the head of Paddy Purcell, and Dwayne Wilson found himself in acres of space, fifteen yards from Barry Ryan’s goal. Instead of finishing into the bottom corner, he opted for the short range lob over the ex-Galway stopper. Even with Ryan’s height, the lob fell short of anything that could be considered a decent effort, with the ball dropping kindly into the keepers hands without any great struggle.
The first Limerick chance would fall to the man in form, Stephen O’Flynn. His two goals last week were nearly joined by another in this tie after some great work from Coughlan and Hynes on the left hand side. The latter crossed swiftly for O’Flynn but the ball swung inches passed his outstretched boot.
Waterford would threaten from set pieces, given their height, and aerial prowess from Kenny Browne. This tactic nearly came into fruition as a wicked Connor Sinnott effort deflected out for a corner. His own cross found Browne towering above everyone, but his header left a lot to be desired as it drifted well over the bar. Limerick’s first meaningful effort didn’t arrive until five minutes before the half time whistle, as the eventual goalscorer found himself in space, fifteen yards from goal, only to find Burns gloves with a weak effort.
Much to the relief of the two hundred in attendance, referee Keith Kallanan blew for half time and the scurry to the chipper ensued.
The false sense of optimism was created by the arrival of the second half, as Limerick had the ball in the net. Stephen O’Flynn ran at the Waterford defence, and managed to slide a ball across the edge of the box for Tracy, he miscontrolled the ball, which in turn fell to Peter Hynes, he buried his chance, which was deemed offside.
A penalty claim for Limerick arrived on the hour mark, as Stephen O’Flynn weaved his way in and out of the Waterford backline. He took a heavy touch and the ball veered away from him. He claimed a penalty, the referee pointed, but for the goal kick.
Ten minutes later, a game which looked a dead cert for scoreless draw, threw up a surprise when great work from Peter Hynes found Garbhan Coughlan in a central position, his finely struck shot curled into the bottom corner, much to the delight of the few in attendance. A goal in which most of them thought would never arrive.
The introduction of David O’Leary really gave Limerick an option in midfield. The slick passer always seemed to pick out a pass in the middle, and forced Limerick to keep it on the ground. He showed great energy and determination to help his side see out the game.
Various substitutions and yellow cards were the highlight of the next twenty minutes, aswell as the prayers of the spectators wishing for the game to end. Their wish was granted, and Limerick went home happy. The pressure remains on Waterford, who have lost their last four games, while Limerick will hope to use this victory as a springboard for morale ahead of their league clash with Athlone Town on Friday night.
Limerick FC: Ryan, O’Callaghan, Purcell, McCarthy, Frost, Tracy, Coughlan, Judge(Coleman 67), Broughall(O’Leary 60), O’Flynn, Hynes(Quinn 79).
Subs not Used: Cusack, McGann, White, Brosnan.
Waterford United: Burns, Chin, Browne, Murray, Coady, Breen, Sinnott, Quinn, Nolan(Dunphy 74), Keane, Wilson(Rafter 63).
Subs not Used: Barrett, Carey, Long.
Referee: Keith Kallanan
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: John Frost
Andrew joined Extratime for the 2010 season and covers all the on-goings down in Limerick. Having first experienced the League of Ireland in 2002, Andrew became hooked, even at such an early age. He is currently studying English and New Media at the University of Limerick. You can contact him via Twitter @Cunneen92.