FAI Cup R3
Date: 7:45 p.m. June 3, 2011
Venue: Regional Sports Centre
The game may have come at the right time for the home side after last weekend’s sacking of manager Stephen Henderson, as Paul O’Brien steps in as caretaker boss with Billy Hearne and Alan Barry completing the temporary set-up, and they will look to forget about their league position and concentrate again on performances.
With the recent release of striker Micheal Rafter, Waterford United’s squad has been reduced to 18 but the timing of the game may bring a little relief for their under-performing squad. The Blues have won just one of their last four games at home.
One of the chosen three in charge of the Blues, Billy Hearne, is hoping for a return to an exciting brand of football for the match. His side have no injuries or suspensions to worry about.
“We've been known as a team that can excite people around the country and we haven't been doing it of late. We want to do that, we want to get the team playing an exciting brand of football, get the supporters behind us and New Ross Celtic is a stepping stone. And yeah because it's a different competition there'll hopefully be a bit of freshness about it but if it wasn't, if it was a league game, we'd really be approaching it the same. It's [out of] respect to New Ross Celtic and the competition that we are gonna take it that way."
New Ross Celtic come into the game having not had a competitive fixture in five weeks. Manager Brad O’Neill and his team are relishing this opportunity against their higher-profile neighbours and the away draw is not being seen as a problem. “When the draw was made we were really delighted that it was Waterford United, 15-20 minutes down the road from us. They’ve got a great tradition, we were looking for one of the big teams and we consider Waterford one of the big teams. The lads are really, really looking forward to it, the town is really buzzing over it.”
The Wexford side finished runners up in the Wexford Premier League and lost out to St Michael's in the semi final of the FAI Junior Cup, and O’Neill was quick to discuss his talented players. “Our two forwards are very, very sharp; Mark Lee is top goal scorer in Wexford this year, over 30 goals. Philip Drohan playing alongside him is very, very exciting to watch, he actually scored our equaliser in the semi-final of the FAI [Junior] Cup against St. Michael’s. They’re very sharp around the box and hopefully we can sneak one and you never know what could happen.”
With the game being a local derby, both sides will no doubt be going all out for the win. Manager-less Waterford United may see this game as one to control and gain confidence to bring back into the league, but their near neighbours will certainly not make life easy for the Airtricity League side.
Referee: Padraig Sutton
Paddypower.com odds: Waterford United 2/9 Draw 9/2 New Ross 9/1
Extratime Prediction: Match fitness and squad quality should tell in the home side’s favour. 3-1 to Waterford United.