Waterford 1-17 Dublin 4-13
A two-minute second-half double blast from Danny Sutcliffe and a Shane O’Sullivan red card pushed a depleted Waterford through the trap door before 3,836 at Walsh Park.
A relaxed and relieved Anthony Daly toasted Dublin’s successful survival mission, a first win on Déise soil since 2003.
"We will let them have a pint tonight, I don’t believe that it’s the worst thing possible that you can do in GAA, to let fellas have an auld pint after being off it since Christmas!"
In a rusty first half from the visitors, where they spent over a half hour without a score from play and shot eight wides, the dismissal of O’Sullivan reversed their fortunes. Waterford reverted to an orthodox forward formation after the Nowlan Park hammering and enjoyed five point and four-point cushions during a fluent start. Through a freakish carbon copy of three weeks previous, Shane O’Sullivan replicated Michael Walsh in trudging away for a straight red offence after connecting high on Michael Carton. Like the Walsh incident, it appeared a stiff penalty, and Waterford suffered the consequences.
After struggling to break down the massed ranks three weeks ago, Daly felt that they heeded that lesson. "At five points to nil down, it didn’t look great. I didn’t see what happened with the sending off. That was a boost to us but it wasn’t much good to us here the last day. We used it better today and I thought Shane Durkin was outstanding as the spare man in the second half."
Waterford drop to Division 1B after three seasons among the six-team elite. Derek McGrath stated that the dismissal halted their early gallop. "The first 15 minutes was probably as fluent as we have been all year. You could point to the numerical disadvantage but that’s the nature of it. When we went down to 14 the last time, we were probably able to cope with it that little bit better. They learned a lot from when Brick was sent off."
Despite playing against the breeze, Waterford attacked the first half with gusto. Lively corner forwards Ray Barry (10 seconds) and Brian O’Sullivan (51 seconds) struck early. Unlike last Sunday, the three inside men held their positions. Three Pauric Mahony points (two frees) sent them five points up, with only seven minutes elapsed.
Against the run of play, Danny Sutcliffe earned a 21 metre free on 10 minutes. Paul Ryan blasted to the top corner. Daly observed that this three-pointer settled them down. "It was a bit of a gamble at five points to nil down with Ryaner going for the goal. That’s him and he will back himself. That was a great lift at the time because Waterford had done most of the hurling." Waterford played with an orthodox forward formation and the recalled Seamus Prendergast presented issues for Peter Kelly. After teeing up two points, he played Darragh Fives down the left wing on 21 minutes and he fired low under Gary Maguire.
Fives was only on the field a matter of seconds after an apparent hamstring strain sustained by Stephen Molumphy. That left Waterford four in front before O’Sullivan’s red punishment altered the momentum. The visitors outscored their opponents by 1-3 to 0-1 for the remainder of the half. Four minutes before the break, Colm Cronin pressed on from midfield to gather from Mark Schutte and smash low to the corner beyond the dive of Ian O’Regan. A McCrabbe free along with Schutte and Ryan O’Dwyer secured pole position at the break, (2-6 to 1-8).
Mahony equalised for the third occasion on the resumption. Dublin’s direct running was posing problems at the opposite end, however. Ian O’Regan repelled Alan McCrabbe’s pull before Sutcliffe arrived on the scene. On 42 minutes, Paul Ryan’s point attempt was blocked by Kevin Moran but he fed the speedy Sutcliffe on the right flank and he stuffed his shot past O’Regan. Two minutes later, he lurked in front of the posts to field a Michael Carton delivery and locate the top corner.
Dublin then slackened slightly with seven points to spare and went for 10 minutes without registering. Mahony dunked the point of the afternoon from downtown on the 50 minute mark and substitute Shane Walsh opened the possibility of a recovery. Conor McCormack, Paul Ryan and Alan McCrabbe eased the Dubs out to eight.
Mahony displayed a terrier-like refusal to submit and outplayed double All Star Liam Rushe. He cracked 10 all told to send his six-game league total soaring to 1-52. The battling hosts fired three consolation points. Substitute Ryan Donnelly was responsible for two and Mahony landed one more.
Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony 0-11 (8fs), D Fives 1-0, R Donnelly 0-2, S Walsh, J Nagle, R Barry, B O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dublin: D Sutcliffe 2-0, A McCrabbe 0-6 (4fs), P Ryan 1-2 (1-0f), C Cronin 1-0, R O’Dwyer 0-2, C Keaney, M Schutte, D O’Callaghan 0-1 each.
WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; T Bourke, S Fives, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, K Moran; S O’Sullivan, S Molumphy; G O’Brien, Pauric Mahony, A Gleeson; R Barry, S Prendergast, B O’Sullivan.
Subs: D Fives for Molumphy (20), S Walsh for Prendergast (43), E Barrett for D Fives (47), R Donnelly for Gleeson (58), S Roche for Barry (65).
DUBLIN: G Maguire; S Durkin, P Kelly, P Schutte; J Boland, L Rushe, M Carton; C Cronin, J McCaffrey; R O’Dwyer, A McCrabbe, C Keaney; P Ryan, D Sutcliffe, M Schutte.
Subs: D O’Callaghan for Cronin (49), C McCormack for McCaffrey (53), N McMorrow for Keaney (59), C O’Callaghan for P Schutte (66).
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)