Dave Donnelly reports from Skerries Rugby Club
Noel Hunt scored a hat-trick as Waterford eked out a deceptively tight 4-1 victory over Skerries Town in North Dublin on Saturday afternoon.
Hunt scored two near-identical headers in the final five minutes to wrap things up for the Blues, who had led 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Hunt and Gavan Holohan.
Brian Snowe pulled the deficit back to one early in the second half and the Leinster Senior League side created several chances to equalise against their professional opponents, but it wasn't to be.
The Blues began the game on the front foot and could have led within eight minutes, but for the crossbar coming to Skerries' rescue from Ismahil Akinade's well-struck shot.
Bastien Héry and Hunt both forced saves from Skerries keeper Shane Davis before former Ireland international Hunt broke the deadlock midway through the half.
It was a goal of some style from the former Reading and Leeds United man, who smashed his shot past Davis from 25 yards.
Estonian internationalist Sander Puri could have doubled the Blues' lead within seconds of kick-off but he saw his low shot come back off the post.
And just as Skerries seemed to be getting into the game, Holohan delivered the sucker punch with a well-taken finish after the home side failed to clear a Paul Keegan corner.
The home side emerged for the second half in rare form and could have reduced the deficit within two minutes, but Bob McKenna hitting the side netting after dribbling around Niall Corbet.
Snowe did manage to get one back five minutes later when his shot found its way past Corbet and, all of a sudden, the home side's tails were up.
Shane Langan had a great chance to equalise when he got his head to Reece Weldon's corner but he couldn't steer the ball the right side of the post.
Garry Comerford saw a free kick sail into the net only to be disallowed for offside, before hitting the bar with a corner, and substitute Courtney Duffus put the rebound agonisingly over.
It all seemed set up for a grandstand finish but Hunt had other ideas, as he found himself in space from a Keegan corner and headed low into the corner five minutes from time.
The three-times-capped international sealed his hat-trick three minutes later in almost identical circumstances, heading into the other corner before making way for Dean O'Halloran.
O'Halloran ended the game worse for wear as he felt the full force of a stray arm from Ken Costello, but the job was done and the Blues march onto round two.
Skerries Town: Shane Davis, Emmett Mullen, Paul O’Carroll, Kenneth Costello, Keith O’Callaghan; Shane Kiely, Ross Hopkins, Eoghan Dempsey, Bob McKenna; Brian Snowe, Sean Lynch.
Waterford: Niall Corbet, Dylan Barnett, Garry Comerford, Renars Rode, Sander Puri; Bastien Hery (Noe Baba 87), Dessie Hutchinson, Paul Keegan, Gavan Holohan; Noel Hunt (Dean O'Halloran 89), Ismahil Akinade (Courtney Duffus 63).
Referee: David Dunne.
Attendance: 600 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Ross Hopkins (Skerries Town).