SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE ROUND-UP
Feely’s Waterford win eventful Munster derby
By Daire Walsh
ATHY’S Rory Feely marked his return to full fitness with a late substitute appearance for Waterford in their headline-grabbing 2-1 victory against Cork City at the RSC last Friday night.
Sidelined through injury since the 12 March home success over Bohemians, Feely entered the fray as an 85th-minute replacement for Blues striker Ismahil Akinade. After he missed out on subsequent meetings with Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers and Limerick, the former St Patrick’s Athletic defender will now look to re-establish himself in the Waterford starting line-up.
Though Feely’s time on the pitch was quite brief, his arrival preceded a chaotic conclusion to a tasty Munster derby. Following a late scuffle deep into second-half stoppage-time, Waterford pair Bastien Hery and Stanley Aborah were red-carded along with City duo Garry Buckley and Steven Beattie.
The fact that neither Aborah or Beattie were part of the game at that point (the former had just been withdrawn from the action and the latter was an unused substitute) gives you a sense of what referee Rob Rogers head to contend with in the dying embers of this contest.
Both managers (Alan Reynolds of Waterford and Cork City’s John Caulfield) were also sent to the stands for their part in the melee. Before all that, Conor McCarthy had offered the Leesiders a perfect start to the proceedings with a second-minute opener.
Waterford eventually restored parity through a Conor McCormack own goal in the second half and it was then left for ex-Everton striker Courtney Duffus to propel Waterford towards their seventh league win of the campaign.
With nine rounds played in this season’s top-flight, the Blues are now just behind pace-setters Dundalk on score difference. Kill native Sam Byrne was an unused replacement for Stephen Kenny’s Co Louth outfit in their 2-1 triumph over Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park on the same night.
After Robbie Benson had broken the deadlock for the hosts, netminder Kevin Horgan allowed a speculative cross by Chris Shields to drift all the way into the Rovers net. Kildare native Gary Shaw was sent on in the closing-quarter as the Hoops searched for a way back into the reckoning.
A neat headed finish by Daniel Carr offered the visitors a glimmer of hope, but the south Dubliners ultimately remain in fourth spot – five points adrift of Dundalk and Waterford.
In the First Division on Friday, Clane man Paul Hunt played the full 90 minutes in Cobh Ramblers’ 1-1 draw with Wexford FC at Ferrycarrig Park. Anthony McAlavey opened the scoring for Stephen Henderson’s side in the sixth-minute, only to immediately concede a goal to Wexford striker Aaron Dobbs at the opposite end.
With just one win from six in the second-tier, Cobh have a lot of ground to make up in their latest bid for promotion. Their next competitive fixture is this Friday evening (13 April) away to Athlone, who suffered a 7-0 hammering at the hands of Shelbourne at Tolka Park four days ago.